The year ahead...readers share thoughts

The year ahead...readers share thoughts

To say 2017 has been ‘interesting’ is an understatement. But what is the travel industry expecting for the year ahead…?

TRAVELinc Memo reached out to a few readers and here are some responses we got back. Remember, we are always interested in hearing from you so send us your thoughts, comments and news.

The first TRAVELinc Memo in 2018 will be Tuesday 19 January.

Debbie Christian, manager and cruise consultant at Lets Cruise, expects continuing growth of cruise worldwide as a holiday of choice.

‘We still see the ‘new to cruise’ market growing locally and the ‘frequent floaters’ being more adventurous and searching for interesting destinations.’

Tim Malone, the owner of House of Travel in Albany, says people are certainly spending more on travel, taking more frequent trips away and seeking more complicated and adventurous journeys.

‘Pressure is on margin but the travel spend is certainly there. Happy days…’

Christchurch-based Victoria Wales of HOT Events says the focus for the company in the first half of the year is ‘naturally’ the Commonwealth games in the Gold Coast.

‘Then it is back to one of our favourite places in the middle of winter – Hawaii.’

Wales says there is a trend back to Southeast Asia – the likes of Bali and Saigon.

‘Melbourne is always a firm favourite with clients wanting to combine their conference or incentive with a sporting event in this great city. We have also noticed an increase in domestic travel to the likes of Queenstown taking over as a destination of choice for a ‘short haul’ trip.’

Grant Bevin, managing director of Business World Travel, says the business travel sector will likely retain the 2017 levels.

‘But I predict that corporate clients won’t increase their business travel expenditure – business confidence in the new Government isn’t showing signs of improving. As long as levels remain consistent year on year though the TMC (travel management company) sector will retain its good shape’.

Timaru-based member of NZ Travel Brokers, Nicola Sorenson, says the release of some very cheap UK – Europe early bird airfares has kept her on her toes for 2018 travel.

‘I have seen an increase in tailor-made holidays for those clients returning to Europe for the second or third time.’

Brent Thomas, House of Travel’s commercial director says more and more customers enquiring about travelling via train.

‘We expect this to continue as a popular experience in 2018 as well. Luxury train travel through destinations such as North America on the Rocky Mountaineer or Australia on The Ghan are top picks to allow customers to explore areas outside of the main tourist hubs.

‘Cruise is also a big focus for 2018, with an increased trend in customers booking river cruises through Europe and expedition cruises to Antarctica or the Galapagos Islands. Ocean cruising will remain popular with more cruise liners adding New Zealand ports to their itineraries.’

David Libeau, general manager marketing at helloworld, says the company expects to see continued strong growth in the cruise segment, particularly European ocean and river cruising.

‘Alaska cruises are also seeing a resurgence in interest from New York , Japan and Croatia. Of course the Pacific Islands, Hawaii, Queensland and Bali will remain hot favorites for shorter winter holiday getaways.’

Dunedin-based Denise Holmes of Travel Partners says a huge number of the company’s forward bookings are for Europe, with some very interesting old destinations coming back into focus – Portugal, Corsica, Sardinia, Sicily and Malta.

‘Culinary tours, local markets, cooking classes, local food experiences – this is what everybody has been asking for, which is great as they also get to experience a little of the local culture.

‘In terms of hot destinations, Vietnam is still very popular and Japan is generating lots of interest, especially with the World Cup coming up in 2019.’

John Willson, general manager retail First Travel Group says FTG is looking towards 2018 enthusiastically.

‘We will be entering into our third year with the retail brand YOU Travel, which is growing well as the brand gains recognition. Now that FTG has a good settled platform with its retail and corporate members, we will be leveraging that advantage with the varying product offerings throughout the 2018 year.’

Keith Sumner, of Gilpin Travel, says 2018 will see further consolidation in the NZ travel industry.

‘There will be fewer corporate TMCs competing for the business, the margins will be static with suppliers rewarding performers individually over and above the rest of the herd.’