Free Travel Newsletter : March 2019
Written by Steph Kendall
Brought to you by New Zealand Tourism Guide www.tourism.net.nz.
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What's large, green and often seen in the alpine region of New Zealand's South Island?
Check out this cheeky post on our Facebook page.
Fiordland, just two hours from Queenstown or Invercargill, is one of the southern hemisphere's greatest wilderness regions achieving World Heritage Status for its spectacular natural features, remarkable beauty and role in demonstrating the earth's evolutionary history. Home of Mitre Peak, the stunning fiords of Doubtful Sound and Milford Sound, the beautiful lake towns of Te Anau and Manapouri and the Kepler, Milford and Routeburn Tracks, Fiordland is known as the sightseeing capital of the world. Extraordinary scenic beauty has earned this region a reputation as a significant walking destination, and a "must see" for anyone travelling to New Zealand. (read more)
The Mindful Traveller
Consider this, how does your booking decision really impact others?
Back in September last year, Australian entrepreneur Dick Smith slammed multinational US 'leeches' for ripping off accommodation houses in regional towns. He launched a campaign demanding that citizens boycott holiday bookings through online travel agencies (OTAs) such as Booking.com, Trivago and Wotif. He believes that more than 50% of holiday bookings are now done through US-owned OTAs than charge small businesses large commissions robbing them of vital income (read more).
Are you really getting the best deal with an OTA?
Also reported last week, was news that the UK's Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)'s announcement that it will take 'enforcement action to end misleading sales tactics, hidden charges and other practices in the online hotel booking market'. It made a point of naming online hotel booking websites (booking.com, Expedia, agoda.com, hotels.com and Ebookers) as the companies under investigation for pressure selling, issuing misleading information, levying hidden charges and determining a hotel's position on their websites based on how much that hotel has paid in commission.
Think over this...
- The Good Hotel Guide says many people are unaware that by booking through an online agent they often get a worse deal than if they book directly with the hotel.
- Finding the official website of a hotel can be difficult. One ploy is to make you think you're about to click on the official site when, in fact, it's a booking agent.
- When a booking agent site says that 'four other people are looking at your top choice' the inference is that they are looking for the same day as you, but that is unlikely to be the case.
- It's worth remembering that these agencies practically run the whole show. Expedia (owner of tripadvisor.com, hotels.com, trivago.com, travelocity.com and hotwire.com.) and Booking Holdings between them control 95 per cent of the online hotel booking businesses.
Top of the Shots
We love this photo of New Zealand Tourism Guide's hometown, Christchurch.
The city is many people's gateway to the South Island and its known for its colour, atmosphere and world-class attractions including the International Antarctic Centre, Orana Park and Willowbank Wildlife Park. Did we mention the spectacular sunsets?
This Month's Hot Topic: Whale Watching
Q: Are there specific locations on land in or around Kaikoura to view whales, as opposed to being on a boat or in the air?
A: The short answer is no. Very rarely do whales come close enough to land for people to be able to see them from shore, and there is no way to predict when that may occur. Joining one of the organised whale watching tours will provide the best chance to see whales up close.
Visit our travel forum for the latest questions and the answers from the travel experts!
Stay, See, Do
This month: STONEHENGE AOTEAROA
Stonehenge Aotearoa is a unique place of science and wonder in New Zealand. It was built by members of The Phoenix Astronomical Society with the support of the Royal Society of New Zealand the purpose of Stonehenge Aotearoa is to encourage people of all ages to rediscover the knowledge of their ancestors.
New Zealand Events
Planning to be at an event or planning an event? - All you need to know about New Zealand events, and more is right here!