Sun seeking Brits
With 2012 being one of the wettest on record, Brits went to greater lengths to ensure their share of the sun, with more travellers than ever before looking to get away to faraway shores, according to the annual Travel Trends report by leading travel search site Skyscanner.
This year, India became one of the most popular winter and summer long haul destinations rivalling long time favourite; Thailand and overtaking Australia and the UAE, a destination which has been growing in popularity amongst British travellers over the past few years. Searches to India rocketed by 66% during the summer period and a staggering 114% during the winter season.
Fastest growing destinations
The report also suggests that British travellers are becoming more and more adventurous with their travels – Burma, once a popular backpacking route in South East Asia, witnessed the biggest increase in searches overall, up a staggering 125%.
Other Asian destinations set to become future holiday hotspots for British tourists, include China, up a massive 64% on the previous year, and Pakistan which could be set to rival India as a long-haul destination of the future, with searches up 48% on the previous year.
Bargain hunters go East
Eastern European countries continue to draw in the crowds, tempting British travellers with cheap beer and food. Lithuania and Slovakia saw the biggest increases in flight searches in Europe throughout the year, both up more than 100% on 2011.
Washout summer sees Spain reign again
As Britain experienced another rain soaked summer, the weather had a significant impact on travellers’ choice of destination with eight of the ten most searched countries being typical sun destinations.
Overall, Spain reigned again as the number one destination of choice amongst Brits, making it the most visited country for holidaymakers during summer 2012; despite a rise in VAT which saw an increase in holiday prices.
The USA dropped from second most popular destination in 2011 to third in 2012 with the UK taking second place, followed by Italy, one of the gastronomic centres of the world, which took fourth place.
The world’s most popular tourist destination, France which welcomes almost 80m* tourists every year, was the fifth most popular destination for British travellers during 2012.
Typical holiday hot spots which have experienced troubled economies during 2012 have in fact seen a rise in flight searches with Greece showing the biggest increase up a massive 63% on last year. With Portugal up 45% and Italy also up 38%, this will no doubt be a welcome boost to these economies. Cyprus, Turkey and Germany make up the top ten most popular destinations for British tourists.
City breaks grow in 2012
City breaks continued to grow in popularity during 2012 with London proving the most popular destination, attracting millions of flight searches throughout the year.
Overseas, Bangkok; once a city for only backpackers was the most popular long haul city break destination followed by New York. Closer to home, Spain once again proved all too tempting for British travellers with Gaudi’s Barcelona the most popular short haul city destination, followed by Dublin and Paris.
The Olympic effect
The report also revealed that the London Olympics, widely regarded as the best ever, coupled with the Queen’s Jubilee meant that Britain thrived this summer; jumping from the third most popular destination in 2011 to the second most popular in 2012.
Skyscanner’s Sam Poullain commented: “Despite the economic gloom, 2012 has been a very busy year for travel. Spain has continued to dominate this year as sun destinations have proven popular in light of the washout weather in the UK. Despite problems with local economies it’s encouraging to see Brits still travelled to Greece, Portugal and Italy. Mid to long haul destinations performed extremely well this year with India, Thailand and the fastest growing destinations of Burma and China, proving yet again that the British holidaymaker is as adventurous as ever.”