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Competition for Travel Deals Heats Up

Media Release 4 May 2005

Competition for Travel Deals Heats Up

New Zealand travellers are facing increased competition when booking holidays, as popular destinations struggle to meet demand during peak times, according to New Zealand’s largest travel retailer.

Flight Centre area leader Allison Clifford said parts of Fiji, the Gold Coast and even Central Otago had experienced accommodation selling out, sometimes months in advance, as New Zealanders and Australians continued to travel more than ever before.

The number of New Zealanders traveling overseas for the year ended March 2005 was 1.78 million, an increase of more than 345,000 departures – 24 percent up on last year, according to Asmal Travel Statistics. The number of people visiting friends and relatives rose by 25 percent, holiday travel was up 23 percent and business travel up 17 percent in the 12-month period.

In the first quarter of the year the number of New Zealanders heading to Fiji alone grew by a massive 49 percent. This seems to be fuelled largely by family holidays, as the number of New Zealand children going to Fiji increased by a staggering 199 percent in the same period.

Ms Clifford said it was therefore crucial for those families looking to travel during the school holidays to book at least six weeks in advance.

“With the steady growth in travel, cheap airfares, more direct routes and regular package holiday specials, for families on a budget it pays to book well ahead of time, especially if they are looking for a good deal.”

Flight Centre consultants were often faced with people looking to book an affordable family holiday just days before their intended departure, which in today’s high demand market can make finding the ideal accommodation and flight times difficult.

While resorts are springing up throughout the Pacific, in some cases demand was still outstripping supply in key areas, meaning travellers would continue to face the same problems if booking at the last minute.

Ms Clifford said it was also a case of beating the Australians to the bookings.

“Australians are better at booking early, and getting the room night specials. Basically we’ve got to start booking smarter,” she said.

ENDS

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