Rotorua travel bugs are flocking to their nearest campervan dealerships with money to burn rather than mourning cancelled overseas holidays.
One Rotorua retailer has had its busiest season in both rentals and sales for nine years, with another Bay of Plenty retailer saying "new entrant" buyers in their 40s were leading the way.
Rotorua's Ace Caravans has been in the city since 1984 but rentals manager Clinton Wells said this year had been their busiest in nine years.
He said they had seen a huge increase in young people buying motorhomes and older people buying campervans.
Their rental side was also "a lot busier", with their caravans all being booked out in May for the whole summer, he said.
Rentals had also been particularly popular with people doing home renovations, which Wells said was also on the up post-Covid.
The company had been anticipating a "huge decline" in business and the expectation was that staff would have to be let go, he said.
"We thought things were going to be bad but we got the complete opposite."
Destination Rotorua interim chief executive Andrew Wilson said the rise in domestic campervan travel was great news for Rotorua, as the central location made for an easy stop on almost any North Island route.
"We've been working with our neighbouring regions on a collaborative marketing campaign that supports this road trip trend by providing a selection of itineraries for every type of traveller and length of stay."
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said people missing out on overseas holidays had "money in their pockets that was almost burning a hole".
They were choosing to buy things like campervans, as well as buying cars and doing up their houses, he said.
He said domestic tourism in the city was doing well as a result as Rotorua was "such a lovely place with so much to do".
"It's not all bad news."
Four months ago Richard Olsen decided to buy the business RV Mega in Tauranga in a post-lockdown world.
Olsen thought it was a risk worth taking but he was "very, very nervous" and had a lot of "sleepless nights" as the ball started rolling again post-Covid.
However, he quickly found the decision paid off, with people flocking to buy campervans, motorhomes and RVs instead of going for their planned overseas holiday.
"The last few months have been busier than our whole summer period ... sales have exceeded expectations."
However, he said although it had been a "great start", he didn't want to "count the chickens before they hatch".
When Olsen took over, he decided to drop the rental side due to a lack of overseas visitors and concentrate on the retail and workshop side.
He said they had seen a big increase in "new entrant" buyers who had not owned a campervan or motorhome before.
Almost everyone who was buying had to cancel overseas holiday plans and thought they would buy a van and holiday locally for a few years, he said.
"They hold value really well. It's quite a risk-free investment as buyers can get a decent amount of money back."
He said they were used to the demographic of retirees but were seeing a lot more younger people, particularly in their 40s buying up.