Thomson to launch Sri Lanka trips as long-haul comes of age for UK travellers
Long haul holidays are fast becoming the preferred choice for many British holidaymakers as new research from holiday brands, Thomson and First Choice reveals that more people than ever before are prepared to go the distance to find their dream destination.
Travelling for nine hours or more is now considered par for the course for many Brits (77 per cent) as they seek more adventure and cultural diversity from their holidays.
With a rise in travel as a whole in recent years and four in ten adults (40 per cent) saying they travel far more now compared to ten years ago, the nation is becoming much more ambitious with its choice of destinations.
Thomson and First Choice have seen a 350 per cent increase in long haul passengers in the last ten years, with a staggering 800 per cent increase in family bookings alone, leading to the addition of exciting destinations such as Costa Rica and Thailand.
Today a new long haul destination joins the travel brands’ ever increasing long haul portfolio – Indian Ocean gem, Sri Lanka from winter 2016 travelling on the 787 Dreamliner from London Gatwick airport.
The boom in the number of long haul customers is supported by the new research which shows 89 per cent of those surveyed now travel long haul at least once every five years and a further 1 in 5 (21 per cent) travel long haul every year on holiday.
While two week durations remain the most popular, increasingly British holidaymakers are jetting further afield for just ten or 11 nights in search of better weather (53 per cent), cultural diversity (52 per cent), beautiful beaches (42 per cent) and more adventure (38 per cent).
This combination of factors resulted in 65 per cent of those asked saying their long haul holidays were the most memorable and that they felt more adventurous (36 per cent) than on a short-haul holiday (nine per cent).
Thomson and First Choice’s most popular long haul destinations for 2015 also reflect customers’ desire to explore different corners of the world.
New destinations such as Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Mauritius and Thailand have appeared in the top ten long haul destinations for 2015, compared to ten years ago when destinations such as the Dominican Republic and Florida dominated bookings.
Managing director of TUI UK & Ireland, Nick Longman, said: “At Thomson and First Choice, we’ve seen growth in demand for long haul holidays increase over the last ten years and have responded with the introduction of state-of-the art aircraft and exciting new destinations like Mauritius, Mexico’s Pacific Coast and Cuba.
“More families than ever before are now choosing to go further afield in search of their dream destination – 800 per cent more than ten years ago.
“With more and more people holidaying more than once a year, a long haul adventure combined with a relaxing short-haul break is proving, for many, the ideal combination.
“We continue to focus on growing our long haul portfolio and are pleased to introduce Sri Lanka for winter 2016 today.
“With more exciting long haul destinations in the pipeline we expect to see this trend continue as British holidaymakers look to visit new places they may never have been to before.”