Royal tour sparks tourism flurry

07:15, Apr 09 2014

As the royal couple and Prince George reportedly lounge in luxury at Wharekauhau Lodge, Brits back home are researching how best to walk in their New Zealand footsteps.

One British flight-booking website saw a 153 per cent increase in searching for trips to New Zealand since the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their baby touched down in Wellington on Monday, the Daily Mail reported.

TravelSupermarket said the rise in searches increased the most for Auckland, with a 237 per cent rise, followed by a 66 per cent increase for Christchurch and 50 per cent rise for Wellington.

Bob Atkinson, the site's travel expert, said Brits loved to copy the royals, especially William and Kate.

"We all know that whatever the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge do, Brits will follow - photos of the royal couple mixing with the locals in New Zealand, just one day into their trip, have already had a significant impact on holiday searches," he said.

Booking site said the number of travellers searching for flights to New Zealand on the first day of the royal tour were more than double the usual level.

Ben Rosier, spokesman for Momondo, which operates the flight search website, said Kate, William and George's visit would result in a huge boost in tourism for this country.

The couple took George to the exclusive luxury Wharekauhau Lodge for their first two nights in New Zealand as they recovered from their long flight from England, The Mirror reported.

The 2226-hectare farmland retreat was recommended to the royals by the New Zealand Government who arranged their stay for a "substantially reduced rate".

"They enjoyed pre-dinner drinks and canapes before being served a four-course gourmet dinner as they took in the dramatic views across the bay," The Mirror said.

Today Prince George will have a play date with 10 Plunket babies but it was the parents who caught the attention of The Telegraph.

It reported that the duke and duchess would introduce George to parents and babies of all stripes.

Meeting the royal visitors will be fathers Jared and Ryan Mullen and their daughter Isabella. Jared, from Oregon, in the United States, and Ryan, from Australia, were chosen to represent the growing numbers of same-sex couples in New Zealand who used Plunket's parental support services.

Tristine Clark, New Zealand president of Plunket, said: "The parents are a spread of all the communities in New Zealand, including Maori, Samoans, people of Chinese descent and gay couples.

"This is a very multi-cultural country and we wanted the duke and duchess to meet people from all backgrounds."

Clark said the duke and duchess did not specifically ask to meet a gay couple, leaving the choice of parents to Plunket.