Record-breaking half a million Kiwis to take to the skies over school holidays

Air New Zealand is reporting record numbers of Kiwis taking to the skies over the July school holiday period - beating pre-COVID-19 levels.

The winter school holidays kick off on Saturday for two weeks until July 25.

Chief customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty told The AM Show on Friday Kiwis are wanting to spend the time "getting out and exploring their own backyard".

"It's very, very busy. It's a record for us for the July school holiday period with over half a million Kiwis taking to the air and moving around the country," she said.

"It's actually greater than 2019 - pre-COVID levels."

Thousands of Kiwis had planned to make use of New Zealand's quarantine-free travel bubble with Australia and hop across the ditch, however, the significant COVID-19 outbreak in New South Wales which also impacted Northern Territory and Queensland, put the brakes on many trans-Tasman holidays.

Geraghty said it had impacted a lot of their services, but many customers had decided to change their international bookings for domestic travel.

 "In the period since the pause has been in place across various states, we have had 20,000 customers affected who have had to change their travel plans," she told The AM Show.

"The pause of the quarantine-free travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand has meant that we have had to consolidate and reschedule some of our Tasman flights but that has also led to some of our Kiwis wanting to rearrange their plans and look for destinations here at home."

She said it was a "fantastic result" to have so many Kiwis travelling through the school holidays.

Wendy van Lieshout, the CEO of Active Adventures, said her business had seen "a bit of disruption" due to the pausing of the trans-Tasman bubble.

"We are very much that high value, low volume tourism so our numbers are much lower and the number of people who have been affected is under 30 at this point. But for a company like ours, we never sold to Kiwis or Australian pre-COVID and now it's sitting at about 30 percent of what we do -so to lose any is a bit of a blow."

But she said it was encouraging to see the tourism "vibe" coming back to Queenstown in recent weeks.

"It's great to see that energy in Queenstown. It's fantastic to have that feeling we used to have a little while back, but it's not quite out of the woods yet."