Russ says the trend is not necessarily about a desire for increased luxury but more about experiences. ‘People are saying ‘Let’s just do the whole thing’, ‘Let’s take the long trip in Alaska’. They are asking what is the best trip to do and they when they can get on it. There is a lot more impulse buying.’
Russ points out that Wild Earth Travel, which specialises in expedition and small ship cruising, kept selling all the way through Covid.
‘We were selling Chatham Islands, Fiordland, sub-Antarctic and other New Zealand journeys with Heritage Expeditions. People were buying New Zealand because they couldn’t go overseas. Now they are jumping on planes, but there is still a core Kiwi market keen to explore New Zealand and we are also taking into Australians looking for something exotic but close to home.
Russ is also commercial director of Heritage Expeditions and says bookings are coming through from Kiwis for the company’s new vessel, Heritage Adventurer. The ship starts cruising from Bali in October this year and has a series of itineraries around New Zealand and the sub-Antarctic, including week-long trips that Russ says were designed with Kiwis in mind. These include Auckland island, Campbell Island and The Snares over the 2022-23 New Year period; plus Fiordland, Stewart Island and The Snares, departing 3 March.