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Travel in NZ – what are the trends we’re seeing?

The end of July saw NZ borders fully open for the first time since the pandemic began, and Aucklanders hailed the arrival of the first cruise ship arriving in the harbour since early 2020. There has been a noticeable increase in tourists on the streets of the CBD – more people asking for directions, more camera snaps and the hospitality sector is becoming increasingly bustling.

Not only have we welcomed new faces to our shores, but our own travel decisions have been on the up significantly. We spoke to a true authority on travel in NZ, Alberts members Expedia, about what trends they are seeing in travel and the way New Zealanders are changing their habits from pre-Covid days. They provided us with some very insightful data, which indicates how the humble holiday is changing in NZ…

The top 10 destinations booked this year* were quite a different story from the norm, with Europe dropping off significantly compared to previous years. It appears that the Great Resignation we are experiencing in NZ is not just domestic job shifting but also due to second or third jobbers finally taking their OE in Europe instead of going for a holiday with family. A huge backlog of OE hopefuls is finally breaking the banks and the three week Euro trip has given way to a full immigration plan for many thousands of young New Zealanders.

An absolute stalwart in the top 10 destinations for years now didn’t even make the top ten – Bali. It turns out that Bali’s restrictions on travel have been some of the strictest, and to make this destination even more difficult to reach there are still no direct flights to Bali from NZ. On the other hand, Fiji is still king of vacations and sitting at number one and Australia dominates the top 10 with a total of four destinations.

It appears that the USA is a big favourite among New Zealanders this year with LA and NYC sitting comfortably at spots nine and ten respectively, but not before Hawaii at position seven. These have crept up significantly since pre-Covid travel, a potential byproduct of the new incumbent president leaving a less sour taste in our mouths, or at least a little less fear of a volatile political climate that could easily ruin a nice trip.

Overall it seems that New Zealanders have well and truly moved past the staycation phase and have our eyes set on some much-deserved heat in Aus or the US shores to experience a bit less of clean, green NZ and a bit more… well, everything but!


* Expedia data from Jan-June 2022

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