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Friday, 22 June 2018 12:47 pm

Kiwis flying more than ever, but they are avoiding some places

Nov 28th, 2016 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Lead Story, News

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New Zealand’s number one airline helping Kiwis see the world. Image: Masakatsu Ukon

Kiwis have made a record number of overseas trips in September but some destinations are missing out on the travel boom.

The International Travel and Migration report said New Zealand residents have taken 268,000 trips in September 2016, a 14% increase on last September.

“This surpassed the previous record of 235,600 in September 2015 by 32,300 trips,” the report said.

However traditionally glamourous holiday destinations Vanuatu, Paris and Italy show a decline in Kiwis choosing to travel there.

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Vanuatu is an island getaway for many tourists

Vanuatu is the only location in Oceania to experience a decrease with a drop of 30% in September this year compared to last.

Vanuatu experienced widespread devastation after Cyclone Pam hit in March 2015 but had been showing signs of recovery according to a Radio New Zealand report.

However in January this year Air New Zealand cancelled flights into Bauerfield Airport in Port Vila because of unsafe conditions and yet to resume commercial flights.

Vanuatu’s infrastructure minister, Jotham Napat, told Radio New Zealand International in October that Air New Zealand had a report that said the runway was now acceptable for operations.

Short term repairs made to the runway are sufficient for the airline to operate ad hoc charter services however Air New Zealand’s Emma Field said that their position over a resolution of scheduled services remains unchanged.

“We would only consider committing to resuming scheduled commercial services once a permanent solution for the runway at Bauerfield airfield has been fully funded, designed to a satisfactory standard and contracted to a competent contractor,” Field said.

Kiwi Wendy Bullock (49) Napier returned from Vanuatu on Saturday and was full of praise for the country.

“They are super friendly, where we stayed was really nice and there were heaps to do for tourists, the food is magic and the temperature of course,” Bullock said.

Bullock and her family flew direct from New Zealand with Air Vanuatu and didn’t notice any damage to the runway.

Fellow Kiwi James Craw who hopes to return to Vanuatu after visiting in 2009 is aware Air New Zealand stopped flights earlier this year.

“I thought it a real shame as the Vanuatu people heavily rely on tourism and they bend over backwards to accommodate tourists, so that would’ve been a real blow to them,” Craw said.

A little further from home, Italy shares Vanuatu’s loss of Kiwi travellers after a natural disaster.

September 2016 figures show 680 fewer Kiwis travelled to Italy compared to the same time the previous year, a 24% decrease.

Italy suffered a 6.2 earthquake on August 24 causing significant damage with aftershocks felt countrywide.

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade hosts a website that allows Kiwis to register for alerts and advise the Government of their travel plans.

“Following on from the Italy earthquake on 24 August the Ministry sent a message to New Zealanders registered on www.SafeTravel.govt.nz as being in Italy or due to arrive re advice on the earthquake,” a Ministry spokesperson said.

The advice included to obey the advice of local authorities and to let their family back in New Zealand know they were ok.

In September they updated their travel advisory to Italy due to the threat of terrorism.

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Charlotte Brock (left) and Kim Kubala in Venice

Kiwi Kim Kubala (27) was on a working holiday in the UK when she travelled through Italy in September and never considered not going.

“I was not at all scared or nervous about going there and I didn’t notice any damage from quake just saw it on the news,” Alice said.

Some places are feeling the love from Kiwi travellers.

The September destinations of choice for kiwis were Australia (up 10,200), United States (up 3400) and Cook Islands (up 2500), while the United Kingdom took a hit dropping 2600.

Visiting our Aussie cousins is on the increase with 6000 more Kiwis choosing to visit family and friends in Australia this year compared to the same time last year.

The United Kingdom was not as appealing as a destination with 2400 fewer people choosing to holiday there in September 2016.

However June, July and August all saw increases and the overall deficit for the last four months was only 300 travellers.

“Overall 46% of New Zealand-resident departures in September were holidaymakers,” the report said.

Annual trips by New Zealand residents reached a record 2.54 million overseas trips in the September 2016 year.

Visitor arrivals were up 28,100 compared with the same time last year.

Seasonally adjusted permanent and long-term (PLT) migration figures showed a net gain (more arrivals than departures) of 6,300 migrants in September 2016.

This is the highest seasonally adjusted monthly net gain in migrants, surpassing the peak of 6,200 reached in November 2015.

Unadjusted figures showed a record net gain of 70,000 migrants in the September 2016 year.

This surpasses the previous annual record of 69,100 set in the August 2016 year.

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