Top Holiday Destinations

Spain and France are still the top holiday destinations for British tourists. However recent statistics show that tourism in Eastern Europe is rising sharply. In particular the number of trips to Poland and Bulgaria has increased significantly. Statistics from the Office of National Statistics showed that tourist numbers visiting Bulgaria and Poland nearly doubled while visits to China increased by 43 per cent. Trips to India were up by 33 per cent and trips to Mexico increased by 21 per cent.

Although Spain and France are still the top holiday destinations for British tourists the number of trips to Spain rose by only 1 per cent while trips to France fell by 3 per cent. Trips to Portugal also dropped slightly (5 per cent down). A leading travel agent suggested that the reason for the increase in popularity of Eastern Europe was price. A hotel in Paris charges a much higher price per person per night than a hotel in Budapest or Prague. In addition the cost of eating out and the cost of alcohol, food and entertainment was likely to be considerably less in Eastern Europe.

Another factor to consider is the overseas property market. With spiralling property prices in Western Europe many families buying a holiday home are increasingly finding that they are being priced out of the Spanish Costas and the French Riviera. John Hickson, an independent property expert with Saharapress.com said that he had seen “a huge increase in interest in properties in Croatia and Bulgaria in recent years”. The property buyer can simply get more house for their money in countries with lower property prices. In addition it was felt by some that Spanish property prices were near their peak while Eastern European property was expected to increase in value and would therefore represent a better investment. Inmueble magazine reports that foreign demand for Spanish property has fallen by 9 per cent. However prices in coastal regions rose by up to 15 per cent in 2005 and are expected to grow by between 7 and 9 per cent in 2006.

Lastminute.com have reported that summer breaks in Tunisia are increasingly popular and saw a significant increase in bookings for Tunisia this summer. Greece and Italy were the company’s top destinations this summer. ABTA, the Association of British Travel Agents, said that short-haul destinations accounted for 90 per cent of holidays. Overall ABTA reported that the number of foreign trips from the UK has increased to 42 million per year. This compares to about 12 million trips in the 1970s.

The number of British tourists travelling to holiday destinations abroad is shown below:

1. Spain 13.8 million 2. France 11.6 million 3. USA 4.1 million 5. Italy 2.9 million 6. Greece 2.7 million 7. Germany 2.3 million 8. Turkey 1.1 million 9. Czech Republic 0.7 million 10. India 0.6 million