The popularity of home make-over and overseas property programmes has contributed to the growth of villa rentals, particularly in the eastern Mediterranean, according to Sovereign Villas.

Sovereign programmedirector Rob Graham said the majority of new builds, particularly with contemporary interior features, are appearing in the eastern Mediterranean, and this style of property isappealing to TV makeover show viewers.

Graham said: “Customers are becoming increasingly choosy and at the moment villas reflecting the minimalist look with loads of glass and steel are really popular.

“Much of this is down to the growth of property shows in the UK and the demand for customers who want a home from home, rather than a hotel stay.”

He said this all accounted for a growth in sales of five-star properties, particularly those sleeping eight or more people, which are now selling faster than mid-range properties.

Corfu is the most booked destination this year for Sovereign Villas, with the Algarve remaining in second place, largely because the operator offers flights to Faro from 21 regional airports.

However, the rest of Portugal, like neighbour Spain, is struggling. Crete, Cephalonia, Zante, Lefkas and Cyprus have attracted 9% more passengers than the whole of Spain and Portugal this year, with the Costa del Sol, Ibiza, and the Canary Islands suffering most.

Graham put the drop in demand to Spain down to two factors: customers searching further afield for new destinations, while those remaining loyal to Spain are increasingly purchasing their own properties there.

Such is the popularity for regional departures, Graham said they now account for 39% of all flight bookings.