The Maldives has once again topped Kuoni’s annual poll of where UK customers want to spend their holidays. In the company’s Top Ten selling destinations for 2012, this Indian Ocean archipelago has held on to the top slot since 2005.
Where holidaymakers want to go is just part of leading tour operator Kuoni’s annual Travel Trends Report. The 20-page Report also tracks hot travel trends and the top destinations for weddings and honeymoons, for families, for solo travellers, for pampering spa holidays, for the most exciting adventures and authentic experiences as well as the best destinations for those that care about the planet.
The Report also highlights changes in holiday behaviour and includes trends in holiday booking behaviour, such as the importance of social media in driving holiday choices.
The top five holiday destinations for 2012 are the Maldives, Thailand, Sri Lanka, The United Arab Emirates and the USA. Kuoni predicts that South Africa will witness huge growth over the next 12 months, helped by the exposure from the football World Cup last year and the weakened currency against sterling. The only mid-haul destination in the 2012 Top Ten selling destinations is the United Arab Emirates, which kept its fourth position from last year. Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah account for the popularity of this region.
For specific types of holidays, the Maldives retained its top slot for Honeymoon Destinations and also topped the wishlist for digital natives, better known as Generation X, Y and Z. Sri Lanka retained Number One Destination for Weddings, Kuramathi Island Resort in the Maldives kept the top slot for Family Destinations, as did Thailand for Solo Holidays.
The winner of the Top 10 Adventure Holiday is the 11-day tour of culture-rich Sri Lanka on the Ceylon Tour, while those looking for the best Planet Friendly Holiday voted for Governors Main Camp in the wildlife safari heaven of Kenya.
Aside from favourite and new destinations, there are changes in the type of holiday the customer wants today. More destination-savvy and discerning holidaymakers are looking for different types of holiday.
Four specific trends have emerged
· a thirst for discovery
· authenticity of experience
· social responsibility
· face to face contact with a travel expert when booking
With a gloomy economic forecast, it’s no surprise that the Kuoni Travel Trends Report 2012 highlights the need for value for money, good family resorts in Europe and an increase in popularity of All Inclusive holidays during 2012.
To meet the needs of a changing holidaymaker, Kuoni developed and launched the Discover brochure for 2012, packed with authentic experiences and once-in-a-lifetime tours to help get under the skin of a destination. The company has also launched ananea, a sustainable brand that stands for socially responsible holidays that help empower people to protect the natural environment and local population. Kuoni has also strengthened its retail presence across the UK over the last 12 months, with more retail stores for holidaymakers to visit and access that all-important first-hand expertise and knowledge.