Overseas trips prove popular presents

MICHELLE SUTTON
Last updated 13:00 24/12/2012

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A Nelson wife is getting a trip to Bangkok for a present this Christmas, while Australia and Fiji are the most popular destinations among travellers this festive season.

Travel agents told the Nelson Mail that the number of residents booking overseas trips had increased this Christmas, compared with previous years.

Air New Zealand store manager Erik Roeper said gift vouchers for holidays had been popular presents.

One Nelson man bought a holiday package for a trip to Bangkok for him and his wife in April next year.

The present, including flights and four nights' accommodation, would be delivered on Christmas Day.

"It's not a surprise. They've been talking about it for ages, but it's a good time, with flight prices at the moment," Mr Roeper said.

Flight Centre Nelson manager Stuart McDonald said the economic climate was having little impact on people booking overseas holidays.

"People will still find money for their annual holiday.

"It's the one thing people will find money for."

He acknowledged that most residents would probably stay around home or in the country this Christmas, but Australia was an increasingly popular destination.

Many residents were travelling across the Tasman to spend Christmas Day with friends and family who had moved there, he said.

This time of the year was generally quieter than July-August, when people took winter breaks, but many of those holidays were booked when families met, at Christmas and New Year, and planned trips.

Sue Farley, of NZ Travel Brokers in Nelson, said among her clients, Nelson people seemed to be staying closer to home this Christmas.

It was not because of an unwillingness to travel, but rather because Nelson was a nice place to be at Christmas and New Year, she said..

She had probably booked more people to come to Nelson during the summer than in previous years.

"But people are already talking about where they will be travelling during the year, so I expect there will be a surge in bookings after Christmas for the warmer winter getaways and school-holiday travel. For now, they just want to relax and enjoy Christmas at home."

Nelson Tasman Tourism chief executive Lynda Keene said she expected the holiday season to be a combination of residents staying at home and travelling farther afield.

"For example, I have had the last few Christmases at home, so I'm going away this year," Ms Keene said.

"Other people who haven't been away for a few years may also choose to travel, but I suspect over Christmas it'll be a quick dash, then back home."

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- The Nelson Mail

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