Ireland prepares to welcome Aussie tourists in 2013

Tourism chiefs in Ireland are preparing for an influx of visitors from Australia in 2013.

Chief executive of Tourism Ireland Niall Gibbons told Travel Today that the two countries have strong cultural connections and plenty of Aussies will be keen to travel to the Emerald Isle next year.

Better air links have made it easier for people to traverse between the two nations, although Mr Gibbons insisted that travel agents still have a huge role to play in organising long-haul flights.

"Most of our Australian visitors come through the [travel agent] trade, probably about three quarters and maybe even more," he was quoted as saying.

Derry-Londonderry is set to be named the UK City of Culture in 2013, which will inevitably lead to a rise in visitor numbers.

Tourism chiefs are also very excited about The Gathering event, which is a year-long initiative aimed at encouraging people with Irish ties to head back to the country.

With a host of events planned, the scheme is expected to attract an additional 320,000 tourists.

Aussies have plenty to think about before they make the long trip to the northern hemisphere.

First and foremost, it is important to find the best exchange rates to ensure you are getting the biggest bang for your buck.

Of course, people who know about the UK and Ireland's political history will realise that Northern Ireland still uses British sterling, whereas the Irish Republic has switched to the euro.

As things stand, one dollar will get you 65 British pence or 0.8 euros.

To add to the confusion, a lot of restaurants, bars, hotels and other establishments in England, Scotland and Wales are a bit wary about accepting Northern Irish currency – even though it is perfectly legal tender in all parts of the UK.

If you plan to visit the Republic of Ireland and the UK in the same trip, it may be worth buying a multi-currency travel card.

This allows you to add numerous types of money on to one piece of plastic, so you can take sterling and euros without having to worry about carrying a pocketful of cash.

Have a question about travel money? Ask the money gurus at Mozo Answers.ADNFCR-1761-ID-801488911-ADNFCR