More Nelsonians seek winter escapes

Nelsonians are escaping frosty winter mornings and packing their bags in search of a bit of adventure.

Travel agents say they are "crazy busy" as more people head overseas for a winter break.

Rarotonga, Fiji and even Asia are the destinations of choice as people stray away from the typical Gold Coast holiday.

Travel agents say Nelson residents have not stopped travelling this winter because of the recession – and, if anything, have become more adventurous.

Nelson Travel Broker owner Sue Ketel is bucking the trend of the recession.

She said she was 20 per cent busier this year compared to last year.

She said there were "not enough hours in the day", and even though there was a recession, people were still travelling.

"People still seem to be spending the money."

The recession was not curbing people's desire to travel this winter, she said.

Their mentality was, "Stuff it, we're still going to go".

While only 20 per cent of her bookings were for families, she said they were avoiding the "standard Gold Coast experience".

Holidaymakers were being more adventurous and choosing destinations such as Tonga, Samoa and Fiji.

Travel Smart travel agency owner Robyn Neil said that despite the economic climate, her business was still "very" busy.

"It's not one of the things that have slowed down.

"Holidays are something people are always going to take."

She said her clients had become more adventurous, staying away from the London Olympics and choosing destinations such as Nepal and India for their winter break.

Families were not missing out on the adventure, Ms Neil said.

Many families were choosing to go to Asia because they could get more bang for their buck there, and it was easier to get to places such as Bali, as Air New Zealand now flew there direct.

Air NZ corporate communications manager Tracey Palmer said Australia and the Pacific Islands had long been popular with New Zealanders, but Air NZ had just launched a direct route to Bali during the peak demand time of June to October.

The carrier had also just launched a seasonal direct route to Queensland's Sunshine Coast for the 100,000 people who travelled there every year for some winter sun.

A family of four can fly from Nelson to Rarotonga and stay in a beachfront suite for about $4000.

The Nelson Mail