Long-haul trade supplier Gold Medal has revealed its fastest growing destinations for 2016, with Costa Rica capitalising on new flights from the UK and taking top spot.

The Latin American country has seen both BA and Thomson Airlines start or restart routes and Gold Medal has seen a massive 8,207% increase in passenger numbers.

No other destination came close to matching that level of growth (no raw figures were released by Gold Medal), but Zanzibar, in second, has seen a 318% upturn.

Next came China on 287%, Jamaica on 245% and Tanzania completed Gold Medal’s top five on 172%.

Gordon McCreadie, director of sales and marketing Gold Medal and Travel 2, said: “Whilst travel publications are always looking for the ‘next big thing’, our list is a useful reminder to agents that the majority of holidaymakers aren’t so easily swayed by media trends.

“Costa Rica, for example, has seen the biggest growth by far for us this year. And, whilst booking numbers may still be a lot smaller than other destinations, the 8,207% year-on-year growth in interest for the ‘poster child’ of eco-tourism and wildlife rich destination speaks volumes.

“What’s more, whilst I suspect this rise has been stimulated by British Airways restarting their non-stop flights from Gatwick to San Jose in May this year, it also reflects the growing desire for a more adventurous style of travel; a trend which is having a far more significant impact on bookings across the industry.”

Gold Medal’s top 10 long-haul destinations showing growth for 2016

1. Costa Rica: + 8207% year-on-year
2. Zanzibar: + 318%
3. China: + 287%
4. Jamaica: + 245%
5. Tanzania: + 172%
6. Antigua: + 99%
7. Cuba: + 71% (NB: Top 10 ‘destinations to watch’ in 2016 Condé Nast Traveller)
8. Hawaii: + 41% (NB: Best in travel: top 10 regions in 2016 Lonely Planet)
9. Vietnam: + 35%
10. Seychelles: + 111%