Acts of terror and uncertainty over the medium-term value of the pound is prompting UK holidaymakers to break with tradition and opt for eastern European countries such as Croatia and Bulgaria.
Almost half of Britons are avoiding traditional western European destinations because of safety concerns, while 17% say the weakness of the pound is influencing their choice of destination in 2017, new research by Travelzoo reveals today.
Central and eastern Europe as a whole (12%) is now see as more appealing for Britons than Spain (10%).
The research shows Croatia, Bulgaria and Poland to be the most popular eastern European holiday destinations this year, although 45% admit they would have never considered travelling to these countries before.
More than a third of the 1,266 people polled are planning a UK holiday this year, up 7% year-on-year.
The follows Travelzoo recently predicting that tourists could be paying at least 10% more for their holiday in 2017, due to sterling depreciation and the rising cost of oil.
Travelzoo UK managing director Joel Brandon-Bravo said: “Six months on from the leave vote and it’s encouraging to see Britons considering eastern Europe as a travel destination in 2017.
“As flight bans to Sharm el Sheikh and Tunisia continue, and uncertainty over the value of the pound remains, countries such as Croatia and Bulgaria – which operate outside of the euro – offer better exchange rates and great value for money to British tourists.
“UK tourists who are now looking further east won’t be disappointed. If you take the Balkan Peninsula for example, the coastlines of Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro, are just a stone’s throw from the east coast of Italy. They boast the same warm weather and beautiful beaches, lakes and mountains, and present a wonderful opportunity for British people to explore new travel gems.”
He added: “The fact British holidaymakers are considering alternative, more affordable travel destinations this year is certainly positive news for the travel industry too – particularly after what has been a turbulent 18 months.
“Last year we were right about 2016 being the year of the US, so we’re confident this rise in popularity for eastern Europe will come to fruition in 2017.”