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What’s Hot In 2006

6 January 2006

What’s Hot In 2006

Dubai will be the big winner in terms of New Zealander’s travel preferences in 2006, according to one of New Zealand’s largest travel retailers.

In a nationwide survey of Flight Centre staff, more than 50 percent surveyed said Dubai stood out at as the destination to make the biggest gains in 2006, largely for stopovers but also as a base for adventure holidaymakers.

Okara Park Flight Centre’s Liz Howse said the combination of Emirates increasing capacity and profile combined with the buzz generated by the huge construction projects in Dubai has made the United Arab Emirates city a “must see” for many New Zealanders.

Travel to New Zealand’s two most popular destinations, Australia and Fiji, is predicted to plateau, as despite continuing low airfares, travellers seek out new experiences and, in the case of Fiji, hotel capacity remains tight.

This trend is already becoming apparent, with number of New Zealanders travelling to Australia and Fiji down 2 percent and 10 percent respectively in November 2005 in comparison to the same month the previous year, according to Asmal Travel Statistics.

This has paved the way for strong growth in alternative Pacific destinations, such as Samoa and the Cook Islands, as well as South East Asia, which continues to make the biggest gains in the number of New Zealanders visiting each month.

In the working holiday sector, Canada is predicted to continue as a popular choice in 2006, with many young kiwis doing back-to-back winters so they can continue skiing or snowboarding.

Another travel trend predicted to emerge this year will be the move away from traditional coach touring and towards hiking and bike tours, river cruises and train journeys, offering much more variety between stops.

Westgate Flight Centre’s Maxine Arden said river cruises such as the Yangtze in China and the Danube in Europe would definitely be growing in popularity.

“People are starting to realise that cruising is not an expensive option when compared with coach touring, and there is also a younger market looking at the cruising option. River cruising offers an alternative way to see the country, or countries, of their choice and has the slow relaxed feel that more people are looking for.”

For those looking for a real ‘off the beaten track’ experience, Flight Centre Fort St consultant Tim Newton said the Galapagos Islands were ready to become the adventure hotspot for 2006.


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