In its new 2012 Travel Trends Report, Skyscanner has revealed that Estonia, Russia, Iraq and Cape Verde are all emerging destinations likely to see a significant rise in interest from UK tourists over the coming year.
The flight comparison website, which has over 15 million users a month, analysed its vast data on user flight searches to produce the report on global travel trends. Overall, Spain remains the most popular choice for British holidaymakers for a fourth consecutive year, however in the ‘Destinations of The Future’ section of the report, Skyscanner highlights a number of more exotic locations.
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Estonia is the highest climbing destination with a search increase of 90% year on year.
This is largely attributed to the increased publicity the country has received following Tallinn’s stint as a European Capital of Culture in 2011, however other Eastern European destinations have also seen a significant rise in popularity. A 32% increase in interest for Russia suggests that the world’s biggest country will get a bigger share of tourists over the coming year. With major sporting events looming (Winter Olympics in 2014, and the World Cup Football in 2018), Russia’s profile as a tourist destination is set to rise substantially.
While Estonia, which adopted the Euro in 2011, and also Greece and Italy appear to be performing well in the global battle for tourists, other Euro destinations have not fared so well; Portugal, Ireland, Germany and Slovakia all saw minimal rises in searches, well below the Skyscanner site average.
Following years of conflict, Iraq looks to be gaining more visitors from the UK in 2012. Whilst search volumes remain low, the country saw an increase of 75% in interest, likely to be mainly Iraqi nationals visiting. However, the country has also been stepping up its marketing efforts as a destination for cultural and religious tourism with its second appearance at London’s World Travel Market. A number of travel companies are now also offering adventure tours to Iraq for trekking, biking and backcountry skiing.
With a rise of 51% year on year, The Cape Verde Islands, which lie off the west coast of Africa, are becoming an increasingly attractive winter sun alternative to other mid haul destinations such as The Canaries and Egypt, the latter of which has seen a 12% drop in searches from the UK .
It’s the Russian market which has grown the most in the last 12 months, with over 100% rise in searches to UK. However with London set to take the world stage for the Olympics in 2012 it is actually the Australians who top the table in terms of the number of visitors while it is the Japanese who are seeing the biggest increase in searches over the Olympic period with a 300% rise. Visitors from The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland follow closely behind.