Travel site surveys online visitors

Air travel may not be the most popular form of transport at the moment, but online booking site travel.co.nz has found Kiwis aren't willing to change travel plans quite as readily as you would expect.

Air travel may not be the most popular form of transport at the moment, but online booking site travel.co.nz has found Kiwis aren't willing to change travel plans quite as readily as you would expect.

Travel.co.nz has been asking visitors to its website whether the terrorist attacks in the US and the economic problems closer to home with Ansett and Air New Zealand will change their plans. Over 600 respondents have been charted so far.

"It's one of those neat things about the internet that we can do this kind of survey when we want to. As things mature we discover this medium is so powerful in so many ways. We did it because we can do it," says chairman Greg Southcombe.

Most of the respondents are quite happy to travel to the US and Europe despite the threat of terrorist activity - 31% of respondents have plans to head that way and most, 57%, aren't about to change their plans.

There are those that have made different arrangements - 10% have cancelled planned travel because of the threat of violence and a further 17% have put travel off indefinitely.

"We really thought we'd see a much bigger drop off to the States and to the UK and Europe. That's what we did see with the Gulf War. Kiwis stayed away in droves."

Air New Zealand's adventures have also put a dent in the industry - 17% have cancelled or changed their plans while a further 10% have switched airlines. The vast majority, 58%, have stayed loyal to the country's flag carrier, however.

"We thought there'd be a loss of confidence in Air New Zealand but that's certainly not what's coming back to us and our business customers are going to some length to support Air New Zealand because they realise how bad it would be without a national carrier. It would be such a disaster for all the travel industry without Air New Zealand."

Southcombe also says traffic levels are back to normal on the website - August was a record month for the company and September has almost equalled it.

"Traffic is back to where it was in August which was our highest month ever. We've achieved the same as August and we're very happy about that."

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