Results are in with the latest travel industry research on package holidays, with tighter holidaymaker budgets being turned towards a wider range of destinations. 2017 was a strong year for the holiday market, with ABTA Travel Trends 2018 reporting that more people have taken a holiday this year than in any point in the last five years. It doesn’t look like 2018 will be any exception, with more and more Brits planning a holiday ahead of the finalisation of Brexit in 2019.
While Europe is as popular as ever for a package holiday break, several other notable global destinations are also growing in popularity in 2018.
Montenegro’s charming medieval towns and Adriatic beaches have made it a popular spot for package holiday goers. In 2018 this idyllic country has been made even easier to visit, owing to the introduction of direct flights from the UK. Montenegro has a rich Catholic history and today is home to preserved Roman remains, Orthodox churches and the pilgrimage site at Ostrog Monastery. Since Montenegro’s independence in 2006 it has seen a 75% increase in search interest, yet even with its heritage and architecture drawing ever more crowds, it’s remained something of a hidden treasure until this year. Ian Crawford, representative for travel retailer Holiday Hypermarket commented, “We’ve seen a growing interest in an increasingly wider range of destinations, as holidaymakers look for somewhere that has both cultural appeal and offers something different – and Montenegro certainly does that. Popular TV shows like Game of Thrones have brought it to the spotlight in recent years, and with direct flights available to get you there in under 3 hours, the appeal is massive.”
The eastern Caribbean island of St. Lucia is home to dramatic volcanoes, tropical forests, botanical gardens, banana plantations and pure white sand beaches. Not only has St. Lucia found fame as a honeymoon getaway, it’s also a prized package holiday location thanks to its festivals. The Soleil Summer Festival in May starts off the holiday season with food, rum, jazz and soul music. St. Lucia’s Carnvial, celebrated in June and July, is the highlight of the 2018 season, with colourful parades and costumes, dancing in the streets and an array of drums, feathers and beads.
Listed by ABTA as one of its 12 top destinations to watch for 2018, the Canadian province of British Columbia is as diverse as it is vast. It appeals to holidaymakers thanks to its snow-topped mountains, rivers and waterfalls, alongside golden beaches and lively cities with towering skyscrapers. British Columbia’s coastline is almost 26,000 kilometres long, and its main city of Vancouver has been named one of the world’s best places to live.
Turkey has had a few challenging years, but 2018 looks like it will be back on top as one of the most searched for package holiday destinations. According to ABTA research data, Turkey has already seen a 69% booking increase for summer 2018. Turkey is known as a destination for every holiday-goer, with vibrant markets, world-class resorts, attractive beaches and well preserved Greco-Roman cities. Vegetarians and vegans are well catered for on Turkish holidays, as the menus here tend to be of a healthy Mediterranean diet, without meats or dairy products.
2018 is a big year for the island of Malta, as its historic capital Valletta has been awarded the European Capital of Culture status. This popular city will play host to a range of events including the Malta Jazz festival in July and the International Arts Festival throughout the summer. Scuba divers are also seeing the appeal of Malta in 2018, as the island’s diving sites have been ranked as some of the best in the world.