Boom in travel bookings

Central Leader - - NEWS LIFESTYLE& LEISURE -

Ki­wis are determined to keep that sum­mer hol­i­day feel­ing alive, with many al­ready book­ing in­ter­na­tional trips in the new year, ac­cord­ing to a lead­ing lo­cal travel agency.

House of Travel com­mer­cial direc­tor Brent Thomas says af­ter a third record year of bookings, 2015 has started strong with the agency’s bookings to Bali up 50 per cent and Fiji up 15 per cent be­fore Jan­uary comes to a close.

‘‘More New Zealan­ders ap­pear to be mak­ing travel a pri­or­ity for 2015. A lot of peo­ple are com­ing back from their tra­di­tional sum­mer break and book­ing their in­ter­na­tional travel to des­ti­na­tions such as Bali, Australia, Fiji or LA more or less straight away,’’ Thomas says.

‘‘We are see­ing dou­ble-digit growth al­ready, and if that con­tin­ues, House of Travel alone will fill an ad­di­tional 70 jumbo jets this year with pas­sen­gers go­ing on their dream hol­i­days.’’

Some re­sorts in popular South Pa­cific hot spots are al­ready close to sell­ing out for the win­ter schools hol­i­days, adds Thomas, which means those want­ing to plan fam­ily travel to their favourite getaways may miss out if they de­lay book­ing for much longer.

The strong start to the year was not un­ex­pected, as Thomas says 2014 was a bumper year for travel in New Zealand, with bookings to all des­ti­na­tions up a sig­nif­i­cant 7 per cent across the in­dus­try.

‘‘That means over 100,000 ad­di­tional peo­ple took trips to in­ter­na­tional des­ti­na­tions last year, which is the equiv­a­lent of nearly one ex­tra jumbo jet leav­ing each and ev­ery day from Kiwi shores,’’ he says.

Hot spots such as Fiji, Bali and North Amer­ica all saw sig­nif­i­cant in­creases in pop­u­lar­ity, with Bali up a mas­sive 50 per cent com­pared to the pre­vi­ous year.

Peren­nial Pa­cific favourite Fiji had also seen an in­crease of 18 per cent in trav­ellers, while North Amer­ica – in­clud­ing Los An­ge­les, Hawaii and San Fran­cisco – was up 17 per cent.

‘‘Th­ese are all very sig­nif­i­cant in­creases, and show Ki­wis are determined to make sure they get their fair share of the warm weather af­ter some dis­ap­point­ing sum­mers up un­til now.’’

Thomas says House of Travel’s third year in a row of record sales proves that New Zealan­ders’ love af­fair with in­ter­na­tional travel isn’t go­ing any­where soon.

‘‘Whether it’s a five-day break in the Pa­cific Is­lands or a two-week adventure to Thai­land, Ki­wis are trav­el­ling in greater num­bers than ever be­fore.’’

End­less sum­mer: Ki­wis keen to hang onto that sum­mer feel­ing are book­ing over­seas hol­i­days in record num­bers.

Visit www.house­of­travel. co.nz for more in­for­ma­tion.

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