The number of customers who travelled to Tsunami affected regions in the six months since the tragedy struck has increased by 100% compared to the same period last year, according to the latest figures from Opodo.co.uk.Opodo predicts this trend will continue through the summer months. Booking figures show Thailand, one of the hardest hit countries, has climbed from it’s 2004 position of eighth favourite long haul destination, to the third most popular destination for customers planning to go away this summer - pushing South Africa (ranking third last summer) down to seventh place.
Although travel to Sri Lanka, one of the most widely affected countries, fell by 40% year on year immediately after the Tsunami hit, figures rallied in March when 60% more Opodo travellers visited the destination than in March last year. Going forward, Opodo predicts the trend will continue through the summer, as bookings for travel to Sri Lanka from June to September have more than quadrupled those made the same time last year.
Neil Mott, UK Country Manager at Opodo said: “Opodo’s long haul customers seem to have bucked the industry trend of avoiding the tsunami hit regions, realising that these areas still have much to offer as travel destinations. Thailand and Sri Lanka are popular choices this summer and with some good deals available we expect bookings to these areas to continue to grow.”
Looking at the bookings for summer destinations overall, the number one holiday hot spot is the long-term favourite - Spain, which has relegated the USA, last years favourite, to second place. Broadcasting of sporting events seems to be having a positive impact on short haul destination trends - coverage of the European Cup enticed travellers to Portugal, pushing it in to the top three, ahead of France. Whilst, Greece and Cyprus have edged Poland and Norway out of this year’s top ten, following the coverage of this part of the world during the Olympic Games last year.
Mott continued: “We have seen several shifts in general travel trends this summer, with Portugal, Greece and Cyprus increasing in popularity whilst the Czech Republic has entered the top ten for the first time, proving claims that Central & Eastern Europe is fast becoming one of the UK’s top holiday destinations.”