Comment: Time to focus on destination trends

Travel Weekly editor Sarah LongbottomAfter all the hoo-ha over mergers, takeovers and the general shift of the travel market last year, now is the time to focus on destinations.

That may sound obvious, but considering emerging trends and using them to your business advantage is a sound way to start the new year.

It is a well-known fact that the travelling public are a fickle lot, but there are some clear indicators of what they want and what they are looking for.

Long-haul destinations have taken off and continue to gain ground. This may reflect a growing confidence in the consumer to travel further afield, but it must also be a direct result of more affordable air fares.

Long-haul routes are now accessible to a much wider market. No longer is a safari in Africa a dream holiday that can only be aspired to. The US is still great value for money and Asia is easier to reach than ever, with additional frequencies and routes.

Closer to home, shorter breaks are being taken within easy reach of the UK. The seven-night holiday is becoming more popular than the traditional 14-night stay and Europe is benefiting.

Thanks in part to strong and prominent consumer marketing campaigns, Greece and Turkey have seen growth in passenger numbers and average selling price. As well as targeting a market seeking sun, sea, sand – and value for money – they are also trading on their culture and history. Ditto Egypt, which, along with the Middle East, is tipped to do very well this year.

If Thomas Cook is successful in its campaign to lobby the Government to provide an extra day’s bank holiday, this could have a positive impact on short domestic breaks.

Even if it is not successful, it will further improve Thomas Cook’s image in the public eye, encouraging consumers to book their first holiday of the year.

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