With the summer holidays just beginning and airports now bustling with holidaying families, Skyscanner reveals some surprising new destinations which are emerging as hotspots for British tourists.
Though Spain remains the Brits’ favourite place to spend their summer holidays, many ‘off the beaten track’ locales are seeing a rise in popularity this year.
Estonia saw the biggest rise in interest compared to summer 2010, with a 54% increase in flight searches on the Skyscanner site. Tallinn’s status as a European Capital of Culture this year, which includes a programme of events and exhibitions, has led to increased publicity and evidently attracted many British tourists. Find flights to Tallinn
Madagascar followed closely behind with a 48% rise in flight searches. The recent BBC documentary series on the country which was narrated by David Attenborough, showcased the diverse beauty of this large island nation and is likely to be a key factor its rise in popularity this summer. Find flights to Antananarivo
Iraq, for years only synonymous with war, appears to be carving a niche for tourism too. Since the last US troops pulled out in August 2010, there’s been a 37% rise in interest from UK travellers. In an attempt to bring back tourists, millions of pounds have been invested in Iraq’s tourism infrastructure, with 700 new hotels planned to open by 2014.
Despite the FCO still advising against all but essential travel to most places in Iraq, there has been the inevitable interest from intrepid travellers keen to explore somewhere that so few others dare to tread. Find flights to Baghdad
4. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina was in fourth place, with interest in the city of Sarajevo growing by 36%. The bullet-scarred but beautiful hillside city was named by the Lonely Planet named as the 43rd best city in the world to visit in 2010, which has doubtless helped raise its profile. Find flights to Sarajevo
5. Cape Verde
Cape Verde, an archipelago of 10 islands off the coast of West Africa is also growing in popularity, with interest rising by 33% year on year. The islands offer an interesting alternative to the better known Canaries, and have a warm climate throughout the year. Find flights to Praria
Other countries rising in popularity were Malawi (+30%), Bulgaria (+26%), Thailand (+23%), Bangladesh (+21%), and the Philippines (+20%).
Sam Baldwin, Skyscanner Travel Editor commented:
"It’s great to see lesser-known spots receive well-deserved interest from British tourists and Skyscanner’s data highlights the growing trend to visit places beyond our normal summer haunts. Locations like Madagascar, Bosnia and Bangladesh tend to offer a more authentic travel experience than many better known destinations because mass tourism is yet to arrive there.
"While the numbers searching for flights to Iraq are still small, the growth in popularity is encouraging and it will be interesting to see how tourism grows there in the coming months."
Top 10 Emerging Summer Destination for British Travellers
1. Estonia +54%
2. Madagascar +48%
3. Iraq +37%
4. Bosnia & Herzegovina +36%
5. Cape Verde +33%
6. Malawi +30%
7. Bulgaria +26%
8. Thailand +23%
9. Bangladesh +21%
10. Philippines +20%
Data is for flight searches made on the Skyscanner site during January to June 2011 for departures from UK airports in July and August in 2010 versus the same travel and search periods for 2010. Only the top 100 most popular countries overall were analysed.