Travel agents warn spike in overseas travel can't be sustained without rise in inbound tourism

Travel agents are warning the spike in bookings for overseas trips will only be sustained if inbound tourism picks up.

Less than half of the airlines that serviced New Zealand pre-pandemic are currently flying into New Zealand, meaning there are limited options to fly out of the country.

After being derailed by the pandemic two years ago, Christchurch resident Simon Radtke's plans to travel over to the US are finally back on track.

"We're pretty stoked, we're really excited, it seemed like something that was going to take a long time to finally happen."

He's one of many jetting off now the borders have begun to open again.

Flight Centre managing director David Coombes said they have seen a huge increase in bookings since the borders have opened up again.

"The pent-up demand we expected has come to fruition. We've seen 100 percent increases in bookings month-on-month."

"If we look at January we were running sort of about 10 percent what we were in 2019. Since the border announcements, we're now up to 60, 65 percent of passenger numbers leaving NZ," Brent Thomas from House of Travel said.

To help keep up with the demand of people travelling out of the country, the number of people travelling into the country needs to increase.

Thomas told Newshub that less than half of the airlines we had pre-pandemic are flying into the country.

"We've got a dozen airlines flying into New Zealand, pre-pandemic we had 29. We really need to see that inbound coming to bring some of those carriers back and those airlines who are flying to bring increased capacity," he said.

"Without the inbound tourism the NZ link is going to suffer, exporters are going to suffer and New Zealanders looking to go away overseas are going to suffer."

It's expected we won't see an impact from this until at least the end of the year.

The increased number of jet setters speaks for itself, but so do suitcase sales.

Elliot Hall, co-founder, and director of, has seen a large increase in sales since the borders have opened.

"We're up to about 80 percent of pre-pandemic luggage and suitcase sales, that's really positive, it's potentially an indication of what's to come in the travel industry because people obviously buy luggage before they fly."

Thomas said people need to plan ahead.

"People who are thinking about getting away this year need to start planning and booking now so they can make sure they get their dreams fulfilled."