Coronavirus having little impact on Kiwis' summer holiday plans - survey

Coronavirus having little impact on Kiwis' summer holiday plans - survey
Photo credit: Getty Images

By Tracy Neal for RNZ

More than 80 percent of people surveyed on their summer holiday plans are aiming to travel around New Zealand this season.

And the results showed most will be taking to the road in a campervan.

The annual survey by the tourism booking and information platform (website and app), Campable, found COVID-19 was a bigger disruptor of winter plans than it was for the Christmas holiday season.

Of the people surveyed 58 percent said this summer presented a better opportunity to explore New Zealand than ever before.

Slightly fewer, 54 percent, said that if it was not for COVID they would have travelled overseas this year, while 44 percent said they would not and 5 percent were unsure.

Just over 54 percent planned to travel in a campervan, 18 percent would be staying with friends and family, 13 percent were renting an AirBnB or bach, and 9 percent would be putting up a tent.

Campable general manager Maria Mahony said it was possible the results reflected the nature of the customer-base and could not be seen as a definitive national overview.

She said while the bookings were solid, discussions with motorhome and campervan partners revealed they were being made for shorter periods than those booked by overseas travellers.

Of the respondents, 16 percent planned to travel to places visited before, and 14 percent would be exploring new territory.

Man looking at lake by illuminated tent at dusk
Photo credit: Getty Images

Mahony was surprised to discover that COVID had not affected summer plans as much as she had expected.

"It sort of indicates that people normally stay in New Zealand for summer anyway."

She said another feature was the small number who said their plans had changed because of the economic impact of COVID-19.

The survey showed 5 percent revealed that the biggest impact on their summer plans was having less money to spend on travel, because of the economic fallout from COVID.

Some noted they had to use holiday leave during lockdown, and would therefore not be taking a break over summer.

Mahony said while it was serious for those directly impacted, it was fewer people than she might have expected.

Travel Trailer Caravaning. RV Park Camping at Night.
Photo credit: Getty Images

She said there were opposing ideas on how border closures and the lack of international tourists would impact their plans; some thought roads would be emptier and tourist destinations less crowded, while others were finding it harder to book accommodation, especially baches and camping sites because so many Kiwis were travelling.

"About half thought it would be easier being a domestic tourist without international visitors and the other half had found it quite difficult to book things.

"If you're a seasoned camper then you know the campgrounds run out fairly quickly, but if that's not how you usually spend your summer holidays then it's new territory and quite surprising for some."

A handful of respondents said that they had not yet booked a holiday because they were concerned about the possibility of another lockdown.

The survey showed that affordability and less crowded locations were what Kiwis used to prioritise their bookings, followed by unique experiences, booking flexibility, refund policies and "stricter cleaning".