Inbound travel bookings to New Zealand are on the rise once again. While the local tourism sector will be rejoicing, it also comes as great news for Kiwis keen to travel abroad as it will likely result in increased airline capacity and sharper airfares.
New Zealand is punching above its weight in the international tourism sector, with global travel retailer, Flight Centre revealing that bookings to New Zealand have increased more than 65 percent in the last three months across its stores worldwide.
It seems that the warmer months have enticed overseas travellers to experience a classic kiwi summer, with nearly 80 percent of bookings from the last three months being for travel through until the end of March 2024.
Flight Centre operates in several countries including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and South Africa.
Bookings from Australia made up 57 percent of the overall New Zealand bookings since October, and bookings from the UK and Canada were also high.
In terms of where tourists are going, Auckland is by far the most popular destination with most tourists starting their holidays in Auckland and continuing via road, but Queenstown,
Nelson and Hawkes Bay are also ranking high.
Heidi Walker, General Manager of Flight Centre New Zealand, says while the focus for the New Zealand side of the business is on outbound travel, they always like to keep an eye on inbound travel trends as well.
“Two-way travel demand is key for airlines when deciding whether to increase services to New Zealand. Both are needed to maximise an airlines’ revenue as it ensures a consistent flow of passengers – optimising seat occupancy and overall profitability.”
And Walker says there can be benefits for Kiwi travellers as well.
“If more airlines decide to enter certain markets due to demand, often in turn we see more competitive airfares and availability, which we love being able to offer our customers.”
Walker points to the increased North America routes as a prime example.
“We’ve recently seen carriers such as United and Delta increasing their services in New Zealand in response to demand, as a result North America airfares have been at some of the best prices we’ve seen in a very long time. For example – Flight Centre currently has on offer return flights from Auckland to Los Angeles for $1,150, San Francisco $1,191 and non-stop to Honolulu for $1,198.”
Walker says that New Zealand has always been seen as a bucket list destination for many global travellers due to its breathtaking landscapes, outdoor adventure, wine and cuisine as well as friendly locals.
“After several years of travel disruptions including border restrictions, extreme weather events and more, the world now knows we are open for business and hopefully tourism will go back to being one of the top earners for the New Zealand economy, as it was in 2019.
“The influx of tourists to New Zealand is great news for both the inbound and outbound tourism sector, and New Zealand as a whole.”