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Kiwis spending big on luxury travel, agency reports

Author
Sarah Pollok,
Publish Date
Tue, 26 Sep 2023, 1:34PM
Kiwis happily spend on top-class travel. Photo / 123RF
Kiwis happily spend on top-class travel. Photo / 123RF

Kiwis spending big on luxury travel, agency reports

Author
Sarah Pollok,
Publish Date
Tue, 26 Sep 2023, 1:34PM

Luxury travel spending has surpassed pre-pandemic numbers as Kiwis spend upwards of six figures on their dream holidays, a luxury travel company has reported.

If you had any doubt Kiwis were making up for lost travel years and embarking on dream trips this year, Travel Associates can assure you, they are.

The luxury travel agency revealed average spend on travel bookings is currently 35 per cent higher than 2019. Last month, spend was 50 per cent higher compared to the same month in 2022.

These bookings aren’t for cheap trips either. This year, the agency’s largest booking totalled $232,257, for a group of 15 travellers on a round-the-world cruise

The most expensive booking for a couple was $167,026, also for a cruise. Meanwhile, the highest cost for an individual traveller was $145,625. Keeping in mind, these costs are for single trips.

Flights, tours and cruises are currently the most popular items booked through the company according to its head of operations, Ashleigh Teixeira, who added that travellers tend to be 50-69 years old.

“These travellers may be empty-nesters who’ve managed to pay the mortgage and suddenly find themselves with more cash to play with and free time on their hands to travel,” Teixeira said.

Travel Associates' Ashleigh Teixeira said customers tended to be older empty-nesters. Photo / Supplied

Travel Associates' Ashleigh Teixeira said customers tended to be older empty-nesters. Photo / Supplied

The Travel Corporation New Zealand, which owns several travel brands such as Contiki and Uniworld, said its luxury brands have also seen increased spend and interest this year.

“It’s clear that affluent travellers intend on travelling and are looking to book those once-in-a-lifetime tours that include all the luxury and ease of a high-end travel experience,” said a company spokesperson.

Spend on tours with Luxury Gold, a TTC brand, hasn’t just returned to 2019 levels but exceeded them by 13 per cent. Currently, the average customer is spending more than $11,000 per travel booking.

What does a six-figure travel booking get you?

To the ordinary traveller, it may seem impossible to imagine how one could spend the equivalent of a house deposit on a single trip.

Teixeira said the more expensive bookings tended to be for comprehensive cruise trips.

“The most expensive bookings are often those going on around the world cruises, visiting sometimes 50+ countries,” she said.

In addition to cruises, luxury travellers also tend to add on expensive tours and experiences.

“On top of that, they want to go on private guided tours where they can skip the lines and go off the beaten track.”

Like Travel Associates, TTC said cruising has also been popular with the luxury market; spending with Uniworld Boutique River Cruises, another TTC brand, has increased 76 per cent increase since 2019.

The River Royal on the Rhone River Provence France. Photo / Uniworld Cruises

The River Royal on the Rhone River Provence France. Photo / Uniworld Cruises

Luxury market travelling for longer

Not only are these high-flying travellers spending more, but they’re also staying abroad for longer according to TTC, which is seeing Uniworld and Luxury Gold travellers book “back-to-back” tours and cruises.

Uniworld’s Rivers of the World cruise is 55 days long and starts at $82,379 but has been especially popular with Kiwis.

“We’ve had several bookings out of the New Zealand market on this cruise,” the company said.

Last week, a Kiwi couple returned to New Zealand after a 107-night cruise, only to book it again for an upcoming season.

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