Aviation, tourism and energy writer for the Business Herald

European holidays getting cheaper

A tour company says its premium leisure travel prices for Europe will drop an average of 6 per cent next year.

Insight Vacations says the price drop is due to the strong New Zealand dollar and sharper pricing by suppliers.

Its Channel Islands-based chief executive John Boulding said prices for tours in Switzerland would fall by 20 per cent.

"Europe is a bargain," Boulding said. "In 2013 prices will come down by about 6 per cent due to the strength of the New Zealand dollar against the euro."

In Greece prices were down between 10 per cent and 12 per cent.

Boulding said the economic slump affecting southern European countries had worked in visitors' favour.

"In a way it's part of putting some of those countries back to being competitive tourist destinations," he said. "They'd lost a bit of that with the [high] euro, they'd become so expensive."

Although the economies of Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal had been rocked by the debt crisis, tourism infrastructure was intact and visitor numbers from other parts of the continent were up.

The number of British tourists visiting Greece had increased by about 10 per cent this past summer.

Insight's highest growth area for New Zealand travellers in Europe was northern Spain and Portugal which was now as popular as Britain.

More New Zealanders were avoiding leaving from Britain because of the high departure tax which costs a family of four almost $800.

Many had avoided London this year because of the Olympics which had resulted in some hotel prices spiralling by up to 500 per cent.

"Next year is a real bounce back year," Boulding said.

- NZ Herald

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