With the world well and truly back in love with travel, it’s our oyster once again, and Kiwis are taking advantage, visiting friends and whānau overseas and heading off on bucket-list adventures.
Here are a handful of destinations expected to attract plenty of us in 2024. Will you join them?
Paris is expected to prove extra alluring in 2024 as it plays host to the Summer Olympics and Paralympics from July.
Flight Centre’s Heidi Walker said she has no doubt Kiwis will visit around this time to support New Zealand athletes, enjoy the city, “and most likely tag on additional Europe travel too”.
The games will enable visitors to see the City of Light in a completely new light, with the opening ceremony’s Parade of Nations sailing down the Seine, cyclists spinning their wheels through city streets, beach volleyballers doing belly flips beneath the Eiffel Tower, and breakdancers cutting across the square where King Louis XVI faced the guillotine.
Expect a flurry of new hotel and restaurant openings too.
Air New Zealand customer and sales officer Leanne Geraghty said Kiwis have been flocking to Japan since it reopened, “and we think the big-city culture will continue to be a drawcard in the New Year”. New Zealand’s relatively strong performance against the yen has been a big draw too.
Airbnb attributes Japan’s appeal to its unique blend of tradition and modernity, with Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto all trending on the accommodation site in the new year – searches for Japan more than tripled between the first and third quarters of 2023 and the same quarters of 2024. Hokkaido, great for skiing and getting to know the indigenous Ainu people, is also proving popular.
Meanwhile, Brett Mitchell, managing director ANZ at small-group tour operator Intrepid Travel said its Japan trips have proved so popular it’s had to add more to keep up.
Riding a camel across the Sahara Desert, exploring one of the best-preserved mediaeval cities in the world, and walking among the remnants of Roman ruins are a few of the many activities to keep you occupied in this North African gem.
While the September earthquake may have made you question whether it’s right to visit, doing so is one of the best ways to contribute to Morocco’s recovery.
Intrepid, which offers tours in the country, said it expects Morocco’s popularity as a travel destination to continue to rise in 2024, adding that Vietnam, Egypt, Turkey and Italy are also expected to be hot spots.
Christchurch keeps Kiwis coming back with its ever-evolving landscape – a striking juxtaposition of heritage buildings and urban regeneration – innovative food scene, and wide variety of attractions and activities.
“Christchurch is a great destination that is continuing to thrive from the rebuild, with even more to do every time you visit,” Air NZ’s Geraghty said.
The city’s status as a launchpad for trips on the world-famous TranzAlpine train journey and proximity to other popular destinations such as the Banks Peninsula and Hanmer Springs adds to its appeal, she said.
“And while still under construction, even more exciting attractions are coming, like Te Kaha Stadium and Parakiore Recreation and Sport Centre.”
With 15 islands spread across two million square kilometres of the South Pacific, there’s much more to the Cook Islands than the perennially popular Rarotonga and Aitutaki.
Air NZ’s Leanne Geraghty said the Cooks are one of the airline’s fastest growing Pacific Island destinations. “And with great value quality accommodation and availability across the year, we expect it to join Fiji as an Islands getaway staple for Kiwi families, singles and couples alike.
To really get off the beaten track, visit the unspoiled isles of Atiu or Mangaia – a 45- and 40-minute flight from Rarotonga respectively.
The Southwest US
With its red-rock canyons, surreal rock formations, and cacti-covered plains, the so-called “Wild West” is a land of legend – one The Travel Corporation general manager of brands Louise Levesque said Kiwis are increasingly drawn to.
Levesque said the Southwest is one of the best places in the US to experience indigenous culture, with Trafalgar’s Southwest Native Trails tour offering firsthand insights.
“From meeting local Navajo specialists for a private drive through Monument Valley to sharing a traditional meal with elders at a Nambe Village, this is one of our most enriching trips yet. A must for travellers looking to experience the USA’s Southwest.”
The Petrified Forest, Saguaro, White Sands, Mesa Verde, Joshua Tree and Las Vegas are among the other highlights.
The sulphur city is having a moment, Booking.com regional manager for Oceania said Rotorua Todd Lacey said, adding that it has “taken the spotlight with both domestic and international travellers alike”.
Rotorua featured in Booking.com’s top 10 trending global destinations for 2024 and currently sits at number five in the most searched spots for Kiwi travellers.
With its geothermal and Māori cultural attractions, lakes, rivers, forests, adventure activities, luxury spas and hot pools, Rotorua really does have something for everyone.
Standout experiences include the Redwoods Treewalk in Whakarewarewa Forest at night, and ziplining through virgin forest with Rotorua Canopy Tours.