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Travel Survey Reveals Australia Top Destination

MasterIndex of Travel Survey Reveals Australia Top Destination for Kiwi Travelers

Auckland, 12 October 2006 – The latest MasterIndexTM of Travel survey reveals that Australia is still the top international destination for Kiwis, just ahead of European destinations, for both business travelers and holidaymakers.

The report reveals that 51% of personal and 72% of business travelers are visiting Australia over Europe, the US and Asian destinations. The report also predicts that almost one million Kiwi travelers (960,000) will head overseas during the second half of 2006, an increase of 2.3% on the previous six months.

“International travel has always been an integral part of the New Zealand lifestyle and this latest report reveals the continuation of this trend, with Kiwis increasingly heading overseas for business as well as personal reasons,” said Bob Whiddon, senior vice president and country manager, New Zealand, MasterCard Worldwide.

Released twice a year, the latest MasterIndex of Travel documents findings from travelers from across the Asia/Pacific region and includes the business and personal travel habits of New Zealanders. The MasterIndex of Travel report also comprises a six month forecast of outbound travel for 12 markets (Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand).

Personal Travel in the Past 12 Months
Together with Australia as the top destination for Kiwi holiday makers, Europe as a region continued to rate strongly, with 58% of respondents collectively heading to European destinations, followed by 21% heading to the US.

Other key highlights include:

- Credit cards continue to be the preferred method of payment when travelling (76%) followed by cash/foreign currency (56%)

- Safety and security issues are no longer the top concern for travelers when traveling to a foreign destination. Losing credit cards and/or a wallet (44% each) ranked first equal with security and safety issues (40%) a close second. This was followed by falling sick with no proper medical facilities (38%) and losing a passport (37%)

- New Zealanders’ preferred activities while on holiday included rest and relaxation and general sight-seeing (63% each), visiting family and friends (62%) and experiencing different cultures (61%)

- Most preferred shopping items for travelers when abroad included apparel and personal affects (73%), local souvenirs/antiques/arts and crafts (42%), and luxury goods and food items (29% each)

- Key sources of information used by travelers in planning their trips were the internet (41%), followed by word of mouth (37%) and travel agents (17% each). When it comes to booking plane tickets travel agents (54%) have overtaken the Internet (44%) as preferred booking channel.

Business Travel in the Past 12 Months
The number of New Zealanders travelling overseas on business increased slightly as compared to the same period last year, with 48% of business travelers needing to head overseas more frequently compared to 44% surveyed in the previous 6 month period. The most frequented destination for business is Australia (72%) followed by the US (18%) and European destinations (18% collectively).

Other key highlights included:

- Air New Zealand is the preferred airline of business travelers at 45%, followed by Qantas (21%), Singapore Airlines (16%), Emirates (12%) and Thai Airways (2%)

- The majority of business travelers (42%) made their own travel bookings, up from the previous period by 11%, with 34% using an external travel arrangement company and 21% using their company’s in-house travel department for making business travel arrangements, down 30% from the previous six month period

- International five star hotels were the most favored accommodation for business travel (24%), closely followed by international four star and 3 star hotels (22% each).

NOTE TO EDITORS: This news release is distributed with the table (below) that shows the MasterIndex of Travel forecast by market.
The full report, which details the individual market forecasts, can be found at the website

The following chart shows the MasterIndex of Travel forecast for outbound travel for the second half of 2006.

Outbound Travelers: Forecast for the 2nd Half of 2006 Year-on-year Growth
Australia 2.67 million 5.50%
China 18.96 million 12.50%
Hong Kong 3.25 million 15.00%
Indonesia 2.44 million 6.00%
Japan 9.44 million 3.80%
Korea 5.78 million 9.00%
Malaysia 22.07 million 12.50%
New Zealand 0.96 million 2.30%
Philippines 0.93 million 4.50%
Singapore 2.67 million 4.80%
Taiwan 4.42 million 5.30%
Thailand 1.59 million 6.70%

About the MasterCard MasterIndex™ Reports
The MasterIndex of Travel is one of MasterCard’s MasterIndex suite of research products in Asia/Pacific. The other key MasterIndex research products include:
- The flagship MasterIndex™ of Consumer Confidence - the region’s most comprehensive and longest running consumer sentiment survey. Now in its 13th year, the MasterIndex of Consumer Confidence has demonstrated its predictive precision and has proved to be an excellent barometer of the consumer pulse in this region. Today, the survey is much sought after by analysts, academics and decision-makers in financial institutions, government agencies and multinational organizations.
- The MasterIndex™ of Retail, which provides six-month outbound retail forecasts for the same 12 markets covered by the MasterIndex of Travel. This powerful predictive market intelligence is highly relevant to the retail, entertainment, food and beverage, travel and tourism sectors, as well as related sectors.
- The MasterIndex™ of Women’s Advancement, an annual report which compares the socio-economic level of women to men in 13 Asia/Pacific markets using four key indicators: participation in the labor force, tertiary education, managerial positions and above median income.

MasterIndex information relates to travel and consumer economic trends only and does not constitute a projection of the business or financial performance of MasterCard Incorporated or its affiliates.


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