Ashleigh Teixeira Ashleigh Teixeira

Off beaten track for luxury

A Botswana safari in style, a chartered flight around Greece and Turkey, or a stay at an iconic royal residence in India - these are some of the once-in-a-lifetime adventures Kiwis are doing as part of what luxury travel agency Travel Associates is reporting as a growth in ‘bucket-list’ style travel.

Despite New Zealand being technically in a recession, data from Travel Associates New Zealand shows the average spend for a trip booked in January, February and March this year is 30% higher than the same three months in 2023. Ashleigh Teixeira, head of operations for Travel Associates New Zealand said most of these high value bookings are made by couples, usually in their fifties.

‘Our clientele has an average age of 56. They’re often empty nesters that are perhaps not waiting until retirement and are instead starting their special trips while they are fit and able, and in a more comfortable financial situation.’

In terms of what customers are booking, premium tours are proving to be a popular option, with tours booked in the first three months of 2024 nearly doubling compared to the same time last year.

Cruising is also continuing its strong rebound, with bookings up more than 60% year on year.

Teixeira says based on feedback from the company’s travel advisors, many customers want bespoke itineraries carefully curated for their travel needs and desires. Destinations seeing strong surges in bookings this year include New York, up 72% in the last three months; Japan, up more than double; and India, up nearly 70%.

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