22 Dec

‘X-Factor’ destinations to influence 2010 travel trends

The ABTA Travel Trends Report suggests that ‘x-factor’ holidays for 2010 might include a once in a lifetime trip to South Africa’s World Cup or be influenced by this year’s hot films and books.  The setting of the Twilight teen vampire saga, Forks, Washington State, is expected to build on its massive rise in visitor numbers in 2009. Jamie Oliver’s American Road Trip should also continue to increase bookings for ranch based holidays and trips to less-visited US states.  Culture vultures will spread their wings to Istanbul, next year’s European City of Culture.

The report also highlights a greater demand for holidays that allow travellers to give something back to destinations, with ‘chadventures’ – a combination of adventure and raising money for charity, or ‘volunturism’ based breaks, gaining currency with some tour operators even partnering with NGOs.

A further trend shows a pent up wanderlust for areas emerging from troubled times, such as Sri Lanka, which looks set to increase in popularity next year. Sri Lanka may be among those countries that will jump from 2009’s news pages and back into the travel supplements as a firm fixture on the tourist trail. Even Iraq is promoting itself as a future holiday destination for 2010. Other long haul destinations that look set to return to popularity, and recover from the issues they have faced recently, include Mexico and Thailand.

Egypt, Turkey and Morocco are also predicted to be strong destinations for 2010 as investment in luxury hotels and infrastructure, including more efficient airports and roads, will attract holidaymakers looking for high standards at lower costs.

The long haul trend may also be boosted by holidaymakers booking flights before the next round of Air Passenger Duty increases - by the end of next year it will mean a family of four flying to America having to pay £240[1] in tax.  Kenya, the Caribbean and Australia will also be hit hard by the rises in Air Passenger Duty.

With many of these destinations being further afield and in countries with very different cultures, and laws, the FCO is warning travellers to ensure they research their destination in advance by visiting www.fco.gov.uk/travel.  Holidaymakers are also advised that whilst they may be getting good deals on holidays, not to scrimp on vital travel insurance, and ensure they have the relevant medication before they leave.

Julian Braithwaite, Director of Consular Services at the FCO, said: “Whatever the reason for your travel - excitement for something unique, a pent-up wanderlust for an unknown country or an escape from the Euro zone - it is vital that British travellers research their destination thoroughly before they go. It is important to familiarise yourself with the local laws and customs of a country. The situation in some of these countries also changes regularly - so ensure you check the FCO website before you go and take out comprehensive travel insurance.”

Frances Tuke from ABTA said: “This year has been remarkably resilient for the travel industry, and prospects are looking good for 2010, with the trend to more adventurous destinations continuing. However, regardless of the destination, a holiday could be remembered for the wrong reasons if travellers fail to check Foreign Office advice before heading off on their adventures.”

[1] According to data from HM Revenue & Customs, Changes to Air Passenger Duty, March 2009 -

Other trends include:
Price capped holidays, including all inclusives, should continue to be popular, alongside a growing popularity for high end accommodation without eye watering price tags – Spain now offers luxury options to broaden its appeal, and even Butlins, here in the UK, has taken the upmarket route to entice holidaymakers. Holidaymakers may also keep an eye on faltering economies, including Ireland and Dubai, in case good deals become available.

Cruises look set to increase their record passenger numbers of 2009, and will shake off their musty image next year with many new innovations tempting holidaymakers who want a little more.  In 2010 will we see cruisers being able to buy vouchers to drink as much as they want, and book dedicated naked cruises.

Increased accessibility
Las Vegas, Dominican Republic and Turkey will all benefit from increased flights making travel even easier.

Cultural influences
Holidays will turn film and book fantasy into reality with Forks, Washington State, the setting of the Twilight teen vampire saga, hoping to build on its 1,000 per cent rise in visitor numbers in 2009. Shopaholics will take advantage of a more stable dollar / pound exchange rate and get inspiration from Sex and the City 2 in New York. The influence of Jamie Oliver’s American Road Trip may continue to increase bookings for ranch based holidays and the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida is sure to send visitor figures soaring for 2010.

Destination focus
• Dubai will be a place to go for bargain hunting in 2010, after the collapse of state-backed ‘Dubai World’ sparked a financial crisis and triggered a price war in hotel room rates.
• Luxury holidays could be available at knocked down prices with potential savings of about 17 per cent compared to the beginning of 2009
• Holidaymakers will also be attracted by the opening of the world’s tallest tower, Burj Dubai, complete with an observation deck on the 124th floor on 4 January 2010
• Dubai may also benefit as a stopover destination for England fans en route to or from South Africa.

• Like Turkey, Egypt is now an established holiday destination and has made the transition from  cultural destination to good value beach holiday suitable for all the family
• Good quality hotels, flight times under five hours, and the ‘X-Factors’ of coral reefs, the Nile and ancient history create an irresistible draw
• Established Red Sea resorts will be joined by a brand new resort on the north Mediterranean coast next year, the White Coast, opening up the area around Alexandria, Egypt’s second city and home to a Roman amphitheatre, catacombs of Kom Ash-Shuqqafa and Biblioteca Alexandrina. While, to the west, El Alamein, not only famous for its battles in World War 2, is also home to a Greco-Roman City discovered in 1985. Cairo is also within excursion distance

• Turkey’s location outside the Euro zone means it offers great value for money and is one of the few destinations to have attracted more British holidaymakers this year compared to 2008
• The increase in all-inclusive hotels helps holidaymakers keep a lid on budgets, but the increase in the quality and diversity in Turkey’s hotels has helped it to continue to attract a broader range of visitor in recent years. Resorts have also developed family friendly attractions such as water parks to keep their offering fresh
• Big tour operators are set to increase their programmes in 2010 and more flights are planned for the summer
• It’s 2010 X-Factor will be the exotic city of Istanbul designated as the 2010 European city of Culture. Top cultural attractions are the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia Church and Topkapi Palace, where ruling sultans of the former Ottoman Empire once lived.

• Building on the Obamaboom, the “Dan Brown” effect looks set to increase visitor numbers to DC and Virginia, with special tours already on offer around the city
• New York has seen the greatest amount of hotel development in 10 years and 2010 will see an increase of 5,500 additional rooms
• Families will flock to Florida from spring, with the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Islands of Adventure
• Another huge hotel will open in Las Vegas, and BA has new scheduled direct flights. The downward pressure on prices to keep seats filled could create some excellent deals.
• And the Visit USA Association reports that touring the US will be a key trend for next year

• Closer to home, and although situated at the heart of the Eurozone, Germany looks bound to be popular with British tourists this year with a tax on hotel stays, due to fall from 19% to 7% in January 2010

For all kinds of useful travel advice including country-specific information, visit www.fco.gov.uk/travel and click on your destination. 

About Know Before You Go

The FCO’s ongoing Know Before You Go campaign encourages British nationals to prepare for their foreign travel so they can avoid preventable problems.  The campaign targets a number of audiences, from gap year students to package holidaymakers; sports fans to older travellers and people visiting friends and family abroad.  The campaign works with over 300 travel industry partners to communicate its messages.  For more information please visit www.fco.gov.uk/travel