Heading for the sun these holidays

Oamaru residents are seeking out exotic holiday destinations so as to spend Christmas and New Year in the sun.

Oamaru House of Travel travel specialist Tracy McNeill said travel trends this year for the holiday period were very similar to those from previous years, with the Pacific Islands and Southeast Asia the most popular foreign destinations.

''Popular places we have sent people on holiday for this Christmas are Rarotonga and Vietnam, and of course loads of people are off to visit family in Oz or within New Zealand.''

Mrs McNeill said the number of people taking foreign holidays had remained on a par with last year and although most people appeared to be taking Christmas holidays within New Zealand, locals had certainly been broadening their horizons over the past year.

''[In 2012] We have sent people to ...Bogota [in Colombia], Cuba and Belize.

''Most of our clients buying holidays in November and December 2012 have been securing a great deal for next year's holiday in 2013, early bird gets the worm so to speak, with destinations like the UK and Europe still very much on most Kiwis' must-do bucket list.''

Mrs McNeill added that pre-booked travel to Fiji and Samoa in the New Year would not be affected by the recent damage caused by Cyclone Evan.

''Luckily, the resorts that we are going to haven't been affected. I personally don't have any customers affected because most of them are travelling after Christmas and, of course, the clean-up is well under way.

''We were actually very lucky that we didn't have anybody up there at the time.''

Some resorts on both islands would remain closed until March, but all the people travelling to either Fiji or Samoa from Oamaru in the New Year would not be affected, she said.

- andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz