NZ Herald

Travel not on New Zealanders' minds

OVERSEAS holidays have taken a back seat to the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and travel agencies are offering cheaper deals to try and entice families away from the footy.

With the school holidays delayed two weeks to coincide with the end of the Cup and reduce traffic on game days, families which normally headed to Fiji or Australia were staying put.

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Despite cheap deals to traditional Pacific Island hot-spots, travel agencies were recording low sales for the usually popular months of September and October.

Clemente Jacqueri of Campbells Bay said her traditional family holiday had been delayed because her husband, Kevin McKenna, had tickets to the semifinal.

"We would normally go away for the school holidays but my husband insisted on being here for the semifinal," Jacqueri said.

"We are going to be in Fiji for the final but the Hilton have a special theatre set up so everyone can watch the final so we will still get into the spirit of it there."

Harvey World Travel recorded lower bookings for the October school holidays.

"These school holidays have been quieter because families have said they want to be here for the rugby," marketing manager Jodie Burnard said.

Brent Thomas from House of Travel said there were plenty of bookings for November but numbers for September and October were low.

"Our customers have told us that they were going to stay home and enjoy the Rugby World Cup. Particularly those up in the North Island around Auckland because they are getting the quarters, semis and finals," Thomas said.

Packages to Fiji, including flights and seven nights' accommodation for a family of four, were generally NZD400 ($AU317) cheaper this year compared with last year.

Seven nights at the Radisson Resort Fiji for two adults and two children sold last year for NZD3999 ($AU3171); this year the same package was NZD3599 ($AU2854).

Last year seven nights at the Shangri-La Fijian sold for NZD4299 ($AU3499) while this year the package was advertised for NZD3899 ($AU3092).

Businesses have also been affected; trips to see customers and suppliers were taken in August or delayed until November.

"Anyone hopping on a plane in normally peak periods will notice that the planes are emptier," Thomas said.

"They are staying home in September and October."

But bookings for next year were at record levels, he said, with New Zealanders taking advantage of the high dollar and travelling to Europe and America.

"New Zealanders are still travelling overseas, they are just not doing it in the next month," Thomas said.



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