With the erratic weather leaving many Kiwis feeling robbed of their summer vacation, many have turned to international travel with Flight Centre noticing a surge in tropical holidays at the start of 2012.
Flight Centre New Zealand's executive general manager, Mike Friend, says Kiwis are expanding their horizons when choosing holiday destinations and the dollar is a contributing factor.
"Kiwis have always been keen travellers but we are seeing a trend in travelling further afield as people are taking advantage of the strength of the Kiwi dollar and using this opportunity to explore new holiday destinations."
Flight Centre’s top six emerging destinations for 2012 are:
Mexico is a new and exciting concept for Kiwis, with an increase in bookings by almost 30% year on year. It is an increasingly popular destination with many resorts taking the term ‘all inclusive’ to a whole new level, with meals and beverages included in the initial cost, plus additional offers such as hotel credits to be used at the day spa. Combine a resort stay in Mexico with your holiday around the United States and you have got yourself a dream trip!
Bookings to the United States are up by 15% from 2011. With the Kiwi dollar hitting all times highs over the past year, the states has become an affordable and very popular destination. Hawaii is especially hot right now - we are seeing many Kiwis travel to the outer islands, as well as Las Vagas and New York, getting the highlights of both a beach holiday and the bright city lights, along with an increasingly strong interest from travellers to the Big Apple for self-contained apartments while they holiday in NYC.
Cruising shows no signs of slowing down in the Kiwi market with bookings up by more than 45% in March 2012, compared to the same month of the previous year. With all inclusive packages and a rising number of destinations and stopovers available, cruising has become one of the most affordable ways to travel. When you calculate the nightly rate and consider all of the inclusions and stopovers, it proves to be fantastic value for money!
River cruising through Europe is very popular right now, particularly destinations such as Amsterdam, Budapest, Paris and Prague. There is also increased demand for destination cruises to the Galapagos Islands and Panama Canal.
Africa is a newly popular holiday destination for Kiwis and is already showing huge potential in the New Zealand market with a booking increase of 18% year on year. Kiwis love to get off the beaten track and experience the true culture of a destination and Africa offers this in bucket loads. From the wilderness of safari parks to the natural scenery, this destination still has a very ‘untouched’ feel to it.
The old Kiwi favourite is back in a big way with a booking increase of 15% in February 2012, reinforced by Air New Zealand announcing earlier this year that they will be offering direct flights out of New Zealand. Bali offers a huge range of variety - whether you’re looking for a relaxing Bali holiday, a vacation with the family, a health retreat, or a surfing trip - it is liked by everyone and caters for all interests.
Thailand has always been a popular destination for Kiwis and travellers continue to flock to the main cities as well as the islands, for a beach getaway. It is also acts as a fantastic gateway for those looking to explore its neighbouring countries – Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Malaysia. With so much variety to offer, Thailand is great value for money and continues to be popular with people of all ages.