Hawaii popular for Tauranga holidaymakers (+poll)

By Sonya Bateson

Hawaii is becoming the destination of choice for Tauranga holidaymakers.

Tauranga travel agents report the most popular destinations for bookings during the winter months are Australia and the Pacific Islands, but Hawaii is making a comeback.

Flight Centre Tauranga assistant manager Jacqui Addison said there had been a "whopping increase" in bookings to Hawaii of more than 120 per cent year on year nationally. She said prices to Hawaii were great value with increased competition between airlines and a strong Kiwi dollar.

Also popular was the Gold Coast, the South Pacific and Thailand.

"Gold Coast continues to be a really popular destination for the Bay of Plenty. It's a very popular destination for families. We have also noticed that clients are increasingly heading to Asia for their winter escape."

Travelcom owner Don Menzies said people were wanting to relax on a beach and Hawaii fitted the bill.

"The most popular destinations are definitely Australia and the Pacific Islands. A lot of people like Fiji, that's always popular, as are Rarotonga and Samoa. Hawaii is also picking up on demand. Most people are looking just to put their feet up on the beach at a nice resort, although families often to travel to Australia for the theme parks at the Gold Coast."

Mr Menzies said school holidays were popular with families while people without kids went outside that period when prices were more competitive.

People were also travelling to Europe, but not in the same numbers as the Pacific, he said.

Harvey World Travel general manager Adrian Turner said traditional winter sun destinations such as the Pacific Islands and the Gold Coast continued to sell strongly, but Hawaii was becoming a more popular destination because it had been heavily promoted and had a favourable exchange rate.

Mr Turner said domestically people chose Queenstown for a winter experience, or looked for weekend breaks in places such as the "winterless north".

United Travel Tauranga City manager Maree Webb said Hawaii was in the top four destinations for Tauranga people, along with the Cook Islands, Fiji and Europe.

"Hawaiian Airlines is now flying direct to New Zealand so there are more competitive fares. People are going to Hawaii for the shopping and sightseeing."


- Bay of Plenty Times

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