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Flight of the consumers keeps lid on CPI figures

May 22nd, 2012 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

TRAVEL and tourism have hit the latest Consumer Price Index with seasonally lower prices for international air fares and overseas package holidays down 9.2% and 12% respectively.

The figures were recorded despite the index rising 0.5% in the March 2012 quarter, says Statistics New Zealand.

Kiwi travellers took advantage of the lower prices and made 2.127 million overseas trips, up 4% from 2011.

Mike Friend, executive general manager of Flight Centre, says more New Zealanders have had the opportunity to visit international destinations in the last year due to the rise in the Kiwi dollar.

“Kiwis have always been keen travellers but we are seeing a trend in travelling further afield as people are taking advantage of the strength of the Kiwi dollar and using this opportunity to explore new holiday destinations,” says Mr Friend.

According to the exchange rates published by the Reserve Bank of New Zealand, the trade weighted index of the New Zealand dollar rose 4.2% in the September 2011 quarter following a 2.7% rise in the June 2011 quarter.

“Flight Centre’s top emerging destinations for 2012 include Mexico, USA, Africa, Bali and Thailand, all showing growth up to 30%,” says Mr Friend.

“The USA in particular used to be a more costly holiday option, but now accommodation, sightseeing, eating out and of course shopping is so much more affordable.”

Statistics New Zealand says the drop in price of international travel in March is due to normal seasonal differences after a rise in the December quarter.

Mr Friend says Kiwis are reaping the benefits.

“In terms of affordability, there has probably never been a better time to travel to the UK or Europe. Airfares are now significantly more affordable for the average worker and the strong dollar is putting more pounds into New Zealand travellers’ pockets.”

“Great deals in the market are also helping stimulate travel. The combination of cheap airfares and a strong dollar has made UK and Europe holidays more affordable than ever,” says Mr Friend.

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