Thailand Emerging as New Kiwi Family Holiday Favourite
25 February 2015, 1:42PM
An increasing desire for family holidays further afield, along with a change in reputation for the former party hot spot, means more Kiwi families are travelling to Thailand for a mid-winter holiday.
While Fiji and Australia are the perennial favourites for family getaways, new House of Travel figures show Thailand has an average growth of 12% year on year since 2011.
“Of those bookings to Thailand, families now make up nearly 20%, and that figure is on the rise,” explains House of Travel’s Asia and UAE Destination Product Manager, Paula Watson.
“Family bookings have risen on average 9% year on year, and we’ve already seen a strong start to 2015 which indicates that trend will continue.”
Watson says many New Zealand parents want to expose their children to different cultures and lifestyles, which can be done while still enjoying a quality holiday in locations like Phuket.
“Lots of people want their kids to see other ways of life, so that’s a real driving factor for them to go further afield than Australia,” she says.
“It also helps that the reputation of Thailand has changed a lot in recent years, too,” Watson explains. “It used to be considered a real backpacker area, and while you can still find the full moon parties if you really want to, you have to seek that side of Thailand out now. If you’re not going for that, you probably won’t see any of it.”
Popular island Phuket is still the number one spot within Thailand “by a long way” says Watson, with Koh Samui coming in second. However, previously less popular locations such as Krabi were also starting to see more interest from New Zealanders with a variety of activities such as long-boating to nearby islands, and adventurous rock climbing, on offer.
While couples still make up the bulk of bookings to the South East Asian country, Kiwi travellers were also appreciating the facilities many Thai resorts have on hand for families that give greater variety than some smaller resorts in the South Pacific.
“Many of the resort rooms cater for families, there are great kids clubs with rigorous safety standards and security measurements, large pool areas, and long stretches of beach that mean you can set up in different areas each day,” she explains.
Nearly three-quarters of trips (72%) to Thailand booked at House of Travel take place during the Kiwi winter months of April to October. “While Thailand sees a lot of European tourism in November to March, Kiwis typically stay in New Zealand for summer and want to get away during the colder months.
“Our winter coincides with Thailand’s monsoon season, but Kiwis are typically pretty laid back about that and just appreciate being somewhere warm, even if there is the occasional bit of rain,” she explains.
Bookings for 2015 are off to a strong start, despite a dip in last year’s figures which Watson says was likely due to a political coup in May and two high-profile Malaysia Airlines incidents in 2014.
For more information, see www.houseoftravel.co.nz.