Cheapflights UK, the UK’s leading website for price search and comparison in travel reveals a rise in search for the following three:
1. Madrid: 61 per cent up
2. Abu Dhabi: 45 per cent up
3. Belgrade: 20 per cent up
**Stats based on Cheapflights UK’s own database for comparison of February 2010 against February 2009
“We’re seeing a trend for breaking with the norm in 2010. In their search to maximise their spend, travellers are also looking to maximise their experience by breaking away from traditional choices, and opting for a similar offering with a fresher flavour,” says Nadine Hallak, Travel Expert for Cheapflights UK.
“If there’s one good thing that came out of the recession, it’s that people have become somewhat fearless when it comes to shedding their inhibitions around destination choices,” adds Hallak.
Our top hero is Madrid with the biggest rise on last year. Whether it’s a result of the football mania that surrounds Real Madrid or the announcement that its vibrant music scene will play host to the 2010 MTV Music Awards, the city is soaking up the limelight it deserves.
While Madrid isn’t unheard of by any means, it’s often overlooked in favour of Barcelona, but the city is packed with history and offers just as much in the way of museums, nightlife, and great food. It’s also just 70 kilometres from Toledo, the fortress city that was once one of the capitals to the Spanish Empire, and can be visited via day trip from Madrid.
Hot on the heels of Madrid for search is Abu Dhabi. Speaking of being overlooked, here is a place that has remained in the shadows of its more popular neighbour, Dubai. But over the last year things have changed drastically, not only because of Dubai’s current economic crisis, but also because Abu Dhabi is now the second destination in the Middle East to play host to racing’s famous Formula One Grand Prix. It will also serve as a centre for art and culture in the region through the construction of both the Louvre and Guggenheim museums, which will rotate exhibits from Paris and New York.
And third but certainly not last by any means is Belgrade, once the capital of Yugoslavia, it now serves as the capital of Serbia, and anyone who’s sampled its varied offerings can quickly see why. With Eastern Europe seeing an overall rise in popularity, the veil is being shed on more and more of its diverse cities. While the city is no newcomer to tourism, having catered to visitors with world-class worthy nightlife of bars, clubs, and restaurants for several decades now, its positives were overshadowed by its battered history.
Belgrade recently hit the headlines again with 2009 seeing the capture of its ex-president Radovan Karadzic, but this time they’ve translated into increased tourism. Travellers from cities in surrounding countries such as Zagreb and Ljubljana flock to the capital for its famous shopping and it’s well known that even back in the days of communism, the rules here were more relaxed.