The trends and tastes of tourism are changing. As the worldwide credit crunch takes its effects – and those effects vary from country to country, currency to currency – UK travelers are demonstrating an eagerness to holiday close to home.
Another habit which has emerged in recent years – and is no doubt also thanks to alterations in flight tax and the increasingly flexible hours or many modern careers – is that of buying last minute holidays at reduced prices.
Travel operators such as Thomas Cook offer last minute options to resorts and hotels that, for various reasons, are soon to ‘expire’. Groups or single travelers with the right dates free can find themselves in the Middle East, the Caribbean or the Mediterranean come next week.
Particularly hot this year is Canary Islands – both as a beach destination and last minute holiday destination. Its strength lies not only in its superbly mild weather – but also in the islands’ location, just off the coast of Morocco and only a few hours by air.
Indeed, closer-to-home classic European beach destinations such as the Balearics and Canaries – as well as the Greek islands such as Corfu, Crete, Santorini and Kefalonia – have proven to be some of the most popular choices for UK holidaymakers in 2011.
Whilst there are also some really hot new beach destinations emerging further afield – particularly in Africa and the Middle East. Egypt’s Sharm El Sheikh has long been a popular destination for its sandy beaches, great diving and ancient architecture and culture.
But it has competition now with Gulf countries such as Oman entering the fold. Oman has recently launched a marketing campaign driving tourism to the country’s beaches and bustling cities: whilst Egypt and Dubai remain the most frequented Middle Eastern destinations in 2011, Oman may be a destination to look out for in coming years.
As for Africa, destinations such as Gambia are beginning to catch the attention of beach holiday fans who are looking to travel somewhere a little different from their regular Mediterranean holiday.