Festive Planning starts early for Summer Holiday Makers
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Festive Planning starts early for Summer Holiday Makers in 2012.
13 September 2012 - Holiday makers looking to capitalise on a strong New Zealand dollar and a less volatile economic climate have fuelled a surge in early bookings for December 2012. House of Travel has seen strong levels of enquiry and booking for overseas holidays this coming Christmas.
“We are already seeing a 25% increase on our Christmas period bookings compared to the same time last year,” says Brent Thomas, Commercial Director for House of Travel. The poor weather during December 2011 and January 2012, an improvement in New Zealand business confidence and a strong currency are three of the reasons cited by Thomas for increased interest in overseas travel this Christmas.
“Recent economic surveys have shown that more kiwis expect business conditions to improve in the next 12 months. That coupled with our strong New Zealand dollar mean that kiwis are confident about spending more on their annual holidays. An overseas trip has never been more affordable.”
Thomas also points out the trend for booking early. “When you have a work place shutting down for a specific period and you are locked into holidaying over this time, it pays to book early. Airlines and accommodation providers don’t normally discount during these peak periods, so the important thing is to make sure you get in first and secure the right dates for travel.”
So what are holiday hot spots for Kiwis so far this year? As continents go, House of Travel has seen the strongest growth in North America, with December bookings up over 40% up on the previous year. Though California is in line with this growth, House of Travel points to Hawaii and popular cities outside of California (e.g. Las Vegas and New York) as the destinations with the biggest collective increases of over 70%. Those looking to experience the Rockefeller Centre at Christmas are banking on 2012 as the year to make this dream a reality.
After a questionable 2011-2012 summer in the North Island, Asia is also up substantially from previous years, with many kiwis chasing a guarantee of sun and surf for the start of 2013. Bookings to Thailand and Vietnam prove to be the most popular with Christmas bookings up by over 90% compared to the same period last year.
Though travel to Australia is proving popular over the Christmas period, this has been primarily driven by an increase in the popularity of New South Wales which is up almost 40% on the previous year. Given its 3 hour proximity, shopping, surf, nightlife and lavish New Year’s celebrations, kiwis are making the most of Sydney as an all-round cosmopolitan destination and ensuring that they are getting the dates of travel desired by booking early.
The Olympics and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee have certainly made an impression on kiwis planning a Christmas break, with the UK December booking levels up 20% on the previous year. The weakness of the pound is no doubt adding to the appeal of a Winter Christmas in London.
“2012 has been a phenomenal year for international travel so far,” says Thomas. “And Christmas this year is proving to be no different. Kiwis that have held off their big holidays while we have rode out this turbulent economic period have decided that there is no time like the present to enjoy a well deserved break away.”
Thomas also points out that the early booking trend is increasingly visible in 2013. “There were some destinations this year where people just weren’t able to secure the travel dates that they wanted at a price they were happy to pay – in particular some of the popular Pacific Islands and the USA. We are definitely seeing a trend for people locking down their 2013 school and public holidays, already to ensure they don’t miss out again.”