News Summer travel trends: winners and losers of British tourist traffic

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Summer travel trends: winners and losers of British tourist traffic

Skyscanner reveals this summer’s fastest growing destinations for British holidaymakers

Skyscanner reveals this summer’s fastest growing destinations for British holidaymakers, and those that are losing out.


With anti-eurozone sentiment still strong, it seems that Brits are increasingly looking to non-euro destinations for their summer holidays this year. Thailand, the USA and Portugal are the top three climbers; at the other end of the scale, the Czech Republic, Ireland and Cyprus have had the greatest drop in popularity.

Going Up – the biggest rising summer holiday destinations for Brits

1. Bangkok, Thailand (+271%)
2. Los Angeles, USA (+170%)
3. Porto, Portugal (+163%)
4. Dalaman, Turkey (+160%)
5. Orlando, USA (+158%)
6. Istanbul, Turkey (+157%)
7. Sharm El Sheik, Egypt (+156%)
8. Bodrum, Turkey (+153%)
9. Burgas, Bulgaria (+152%)
10. Oslo, Norway (+143%)

Biggest rises in flight searches on for summer 09 (May 1st-Aug 30th) compared to summer 08. Flights from UK airports.

It’s a telling sign that with the exception of Portugal’s Porto, the destinations that have experienced the biggest growth in interest are all non-euro destinations.

Bangkok has seen by far the biggest rise in the number of searches with 271% growth year on year. Although Thailand has long been a favourite entry point to Asia for backpackers, it’s seems to be moving into the mainstream as a destination for families and couples. The troubles that Thailand has experienced recently with political unrest are clearly not putting travellers off.

US destinations are also on the rise, with LA and Orlando interest up considerably, despite the strengthening US dollar.

Egypt and Bulgaria are both proving more popular this summer. Though both have been favourites with Brits for several years, the emphasis on value this summer is clearly making these non-euro beach spots more attractive to British holiday makers.

Overall, Turkey is the single biggest winner, with three of the top ten fastest growing destinations being in the country. This is most likely due to the rise in strength of the euro compared to last summer, and the perceived expense of eurozone destinations.

Turkey’s share of the summer holiday market is likely growing at the expense of neighbouring eurozone Greece as well as established beach favourites in Spain and Cyprus.

Oslo is somewhat of an anomaly as Norway has always been an expensive country. Factors such as marketing campaigns and increased press coverage for Oslo and Norway may be influencing travellers, as well as the existence of cheap flight campaigns.

And the biggest losers?

Going Down – biggest falls in interest of summer holiday destinations for Brits


1. Prague, Czech Republic (-15%)
2. Cork, Republic of Ireland (-13%)
3. Paphos, Cyprus (-11%)
4. Geneva, Switzerland (-6.5%)
5. Palma, Spain (-6%)
6. Pisa, Italy (-5.5%)
7. Nice, France (-5%)
8. Bordeaux, France (-4.5%)
9. Menorca, Spain (-4%)
10. Venice, Italy (-3%)

Biggest falls in flight searches summer 09 (May 1st-Aug 30th) compared to summer 08 – of the top 100 most popular destinations on Flights from UK airports.

The destination that is losing the most interest from British travellers is Prague, which has seen a 15% fall in search activity. Prague has been a long time favourite of British stag parties, but the growth in popularity of other central and eastern European capitals in the Baltics and the Balkans may be eroding Prague’s market share.

Cork has also seen a considerable reduction (13%) in flight searches. This may be due to Ireland’s severe economic problems; Cork is a major centre of international commerce and industry, so the loss of business could be reducing the volume of business travellers. The strong euro and Ireland’s reputation as an expensive location are also likely to be factors deterring visitors.

Paphos has experienced an 11% drop in interest, probably due to the country adopting the euro in 2008. Travellers who previously holidayed in Cyprus may now be holidaying in non-euro Turkey.

Geneva has seen a small fall, but is typically a winter rather than a summer destination for Brits as it is a major ski hub and gateway to dozens of large ski resorts.

Palma, Pisa, Nice, Bordeaux, Menorca and Venice have all seen a small loss of interest from British travellers, again most likely due to the effect of the strong euro, with travellers either remaining in the UK this summer, or visiting non-euro countries which are perceived to be cheaper.

Barry Smith, Skyscanner co-founder commented:

“Skyscanner’s data shows that value for money is the biggest factor influencing this summer’s travel trends. The strength of the euro seems to have scared off many travellers, despite the fact that non-euro countries are not necessarily cheaper than those within the eurozone, and that good value holiday spots exist within the eurozone.”

“Turkey is clearly benefiting from this enormously with three destinations in the top 10 climbers list. It’s already an established tourist destination, and has the sun, sea and sand that Greece and Spain offer, with the added buzzword of being non-euro”.