CHESTER, England – As 2011 draws to a close, all eyes are on where Brits will be heading for their 2012 holidays. TravelSupermarket has surveyed more than 5,000 British adults to find out where they will be going for their big break in 2012.
Will PIIGS fly?
Last year TravelSupermarket tipped the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) to enjoy a good year amongst British holidaymakers. Spain was always set to be popular due to factors such as the weak Euro and hoteliers keen to woo back British tourists. Deals galore were also predicted for Portugal due to economic issues driving down prices. These predictions were correct as last year a huge 13 per cent of Brits surveyed visited Spain and a further six per cent visited Portugal or Italy.
Travel expert Bob Atkinson predicts 2012 will be another strong year for the PIIGS. Despite all economies suffering from the current Euro debt issues in one form or another, they’re also offering great value holidays to consumers. Good prices will be available on all things of interest to tourists such as hotels, eating out and shopping.
Research found that more than one in 10 of Brits (11 per cent) plan to head to Spain this year, with three per cent heading to Italy and two per cent heading to Portugal. Uncertain economic times will see Brits put their faith in places they know well in 2012 – so the good prices will only add to the attraction of traditional favourites.
Bob Atkinson said: “In tough economic times Brits often return to known quantities, so this will drive an interest in these destinations. Once Brits see the great offers available, they’ll be flocking to these ever-popular countries.”
A bargain bet in the METT?
Last year, TravelSupermarket predicted many would be taking advantage of cheap all-inclusive holidays to Turkey – and this turned out to be the case with three per cent of Brits heading there for their main break. However, it has dropped to just two per cent of Brits planning to go in 2012.
TravelSupermarket also predicted a strong year for Morocco, however due to the Arab Spring this did not materialise. Interest in Egypt was also expected to be strong, but as with Morocco, the potential for a great value break was marred by domestic issues. This decline is backed up by the research – two per cent of Brits headed there last year, but just one per cent plan to holiday in Egypt next year.
TravelSupermarket predicts the METTs (Morocco, Egypt, Turkey and Tunisia) are likely to continue to stall in 2012 after the domestic unrest witnessed in 2011. Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt all have elections which could be a touch point for more domestic upheaval.
However, there will be some good deals on travel to these destinations, especially on a last minute basis, but people may be more reluctant to travel to these countries – even if tourist resorts are largely unaffected. Interest in Turkey is set to slow for another reason – inflation will affect the cost of living in resorts, and package prices will generally be more expensive.
Bob Atkinson said: “Several of the METT countries were set to offer fantastic value in 2011, but due to many problems in these countries, Brits stayed away and switched to traditionally safe destinations such as Spain. There has been some damage to the reputation of these countries but given a lot of the tourist destinations remained untouched, it is well worth keeping a look out for bargains in Morocco, Egypt and Tunisia throughout 2012.”
SLIMMA on to a winner
The METTs’ loss is set to be the SLIMMAs’ gain (Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Mexico, Malaysia and Argentina). World Travel Market tipped all of these nations to do well in 2012 largely due to the expansion of air services, recovery from previous domestic unrest and general expansion in tourist facilities.
Bob Atkinson said: “Last year the SLIMMAs slipped under the radar, and were not hotly tipped. Our poll has shown that none of these destinations received more than one per cent of British tourists last year – but I’d keep an eye on them as these could be the surprise winners of 2012 as they look to attract more and more UK tourists.”
Closer to home
This research also found the UK staycation is showing no sign of waning. Last year, 40 per cent of us took our main holiday in our own backyard. While just 30 per cent have indicated they plan to do so this year, don’t expect the reality to be a drop in numbers – many will be hoping to head off to foreign climes but will most likely end up staying in the UK. After all, holidaying in the UK may not be as ‘aspirational’ as other destinations but it will offer a great value break nonetheless as household budgets bite harder next year.
Bob Atkinson said: “With so many fantastic events happening in the UK in 2012, such as the Olympics, many will want to stay put and the Royal Jubilee will give us another day off – meaning many will head off on a mini-break in the UK.”
Best of the rest – additional hot picks for 2012:
– Poland and Ukraine – these will both be heavily featured on our TVs due to the European Football Championship in June and July. Poland in particular will benefit from Brits looking to take short breaks to its cities
– easyJet and WOW will add more air links to Iceland – coupled with cheap prices this will be a popular destination for activity-led short breaks and for Brits wanting to experience the Northern Lights
– Vietnam will no longer be the reserve of backpackers as it is set to open up to the wider travelling community for those who fancy a bit of an adventure, and Brazil is set to gain in popularity too in the lead up to Rio’s 2016 Olympic Games
Top destinations For Brits – 2011 v 2012
Position 2011 Actual Per cent of people who went
1 UK 40
2 Spain 13
3 Europe (other) *** 9
4 USA 6
5 France 5
6 Asia 3
7 Italy 3
8 Turkey 3
9 Portugal 3
10 Caribbean / Mexico 3
Per cent of people who plan to
Position 2012 intention go
1 UK 30
2 Spain 11
3 Europe (other) 9
4 USA 6
5 France 5
6 Asia 3
7 Caribbean / Mexico 3
8 Italy 3
9 Portugal 2
10 Turkey 2