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South Pacific Weddings Take Off

17 May 2005

South Pacific Weddings Take Off

The South Pacific is fast becoming the wedding location of choice for New Zealanders, with more Kiwi couples than ever heading to the islands to tie the knot, according to New Zealand’s largest travel retailer.

Flight Centre Pacific product manager Raumati Wikaire said growth in the number of weddings packages was “remarkable,” as people realised the costs of a Pacific wedding was comparable, and in some cases less, than having a ceremony close to home.

According to the Fiji Visitors Bureau, 12 percent of New Zealanders travelled to Fiji last year because of a wedding, up from nine percent in 2003 - an increase of more than 30 percent.

Ms Wikaire said it was a trend that showed no sign of slowing down.

“Couples can combine their wedding with a honeymoon, deal with a much more limited guest list than would have at home and use the hotel’s own wedding planners, making the process very simple to organise,” she said.

As the number of couples going tropical for their wedding vows continues to grow, most Pacific resorts are now catering for the marriage boom.

Shangri-La's Fijian Resort hosted 353 weddings last year, up from 290 in 2003, and with an average of more than six weddings per week in the off season this year, sales manager Heather Lane said the resort is set to experience even more growth in the number of couples tying the knot at the in-house chapel.

Ms Wikaire said Flight Centre consultants had also seen an increase in the number of people setting up Pacific honeymoon ‘trusts,’ where couples asked wedding guests to contribute to the cost of the honeymoon by sending donations to their travel agent.

“For many people the traditional set of wedding presents just doesn’t fit with their lifestyle, so the honeymoon trust idea is becoming increasingly common.”

While the South Pacific was already synonymous with romance, Ms Wikaire said the popularity of weddings and the ever-strong demand for island honeymoons meant the region was now known as one of the most romantic destinations in the world.

ENDS

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