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Kiwis head to holiday parks this summer

Kiwis head to holiday parks this summer

Kiwis are planning to enjoy some chilled out holiday fun this summer, with many holiday parks around the country reporting strong bookings through to the end of January.

“Bookings are the same if not better than last summer, with camping a popular option for many this year,” says Fergus Brown, Chief Executive of Holiday Accommodation Parks Association NZ (HAPNZ), which represents more than 300 holiday parks from Cape Reinga to Stewart Island.

“There are still some vacancies for those who get in quick, though many parks are heavily booked from Boxing Day to early January.”

Mr Brown says the strong domestic bookings show that New Zealanders are starting to feel more confident about the economic outlook, and also recognise that holiday parks are excellent value for money.

“While today’s holiday parks still provide the same sort of traditional holiday fun and Kiwiana atmosphere many of us remember from our childhoods, they also offer a much wider range of quality accommodation options and facilities - in some instances more akin to what you’d expect to find in a resort.”

Many international visitors are also heading to holiday parks this summer, says Mr Brown.

“In recent years we’ve seen a growing trend for visitors from Australia and Europe in particular to stay in holiday parks. Often these travellers are touring the country in campervans. They choose holiday parks because of their great location and facilities, and because it gives them the opportunity to rub shoulders with Kiwi holidaymakers.”

While summer bookings are strong overall, park owners say people have left it later than usual to confirm their holiday plans, says Mr Brown. Another trend they’ve noted is the huge increase in online bookings, a reflection of the way the travel industry is moving.

About 20% of all nights spent in commercial accommodation in New Zealand are spent in holiday parks.

“Current research suggests that holiday parks attract visitors from a wide range of socio-economic groups and that international visitors staying in holiday parks spend more than those staying in other forms of commercial accommodation, in part because they stay longer,” explains Mr Brown, who says holiday park visitors contribute around $623 million to New Zealand’s economy annually.

Quotes from holiday parks:

• “Our forward bookings for Xmas and New Year are way better than normal...off the street bookings will be out of luck this year.” Kevin Lloyd, Whangarei Top 10 Holiday Park

• “Summer is looking good. People still think they deserve a holiday to cheer them up despite the dreaded economy. As is the case for most touring parks every year, we still have vacancies but advise punters to book a day or so ahead to be sure of their accommodation choice.” Lindsay McLeod, Aaron Lodge Top Ten Holiday Park, Dunedin
• “The outlook is better than 2009, with strong forward bookings, particularly for events. However, we still have vacancies for the period after New Year, so it’s not too late to book a summer getaway in a site or cabin.” Lisa Cornelissen, Martinborough Village Camping
• “We have been very busy and have great bookings through December and into January. I think that our UK bookings are a little lower this year, but it has been balanced by fantastic bookings from Germany, Australia and elsewhere.” Barbara and Chris Faulls, Smiths Farm Holiday Park, Picton

• “Summer is looking great here at Camp Waipu Cove. Powered sites are fully booked right through to the end of January, and cabins are booked except for a small gap of three days near the end of January. Tent sites are fully booked until mid January, with just a few gaps until the 22nd, and then we are fully booked until 31 January. Noela Gunson, Camp Waipu Cove, Waipu

• “Bookings look good for December and January, with fewer cancellations. We have plenty of sties still available from early January.” Gordon Colister,Timaru Top 10 Holiday Park

• “It’s looking better for summer this year, with longer bookings over the core Christmas and New Year period. We still have plenty of vacancies for February and March, however most weekends are expected to be full with weddings and fishing tournaments.” Helena Stratford, Mercury Bay Holiday Park, Coromandel


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