Interest in crisis-hit Eurozone countries has soared from budget-conscious British travellers hunting for a bargain break, according to new figures from Hotels.com.
The leading online travel retailer has seen internet searches for five of the most indebted countries increase dramatically from 1 June to 28 September.
Hotels.com says searches for hotels in Spain were up 85 percent, Portugal up 80 percent, Greece up 78 percent, Italy up 72 percent and Ireland up 50 percent on the same period in 2010.
The capital cities of those countries also saw substantial jumps with searches for Madrid up 67 percent, Lisbon 61 percent, Rome 41 percent, Athens 37 percent and Dublin 8 percent.
Alison Couper of Hotels.com said: "There are undoubtedly some good deals on hotel rooms at the moment and this applies to the Eurozone as much as anywhere else.
"Hoteliers in some of the affected countries have cut their room rates to attract visitors because demand has slumped as domestic consumers tighten their belts. It could well be that savvy UK travellers are shopping around and targeting those destinations affected by the Euro crisis in the hope of bagging a bargain."
Hotels.com's latest Hotel Price Index – a global report tracking the prices paid by guests in the first six months of the year – revealed that the average room rate in Athens fell by 15 percent to £80 and by 3 percent in Lisbon to £79.
Dublin appeared to buck this downward trend with a 7 percent rise to £73, helped by the high-profile visits of the Queen and Barack Obama in May as well as the stabilisation of prices which had fallen 35 percent, the heaviest slump in Europe, over the past three years.
There was a 4 percent drop in Greece to £96 and a 1 percent fall in Portugal to £81 although prices rallied in Italy and Spain – up 5 percent and 3 percent to £113 and £83 respectively – as travellers switched their holiday plans away from the North African troublespots of Egypt and Tunisia.
Couper commented: "A range of factors affect the popularity and price of hotel destinations, including political unrest, natural disasters and economic turmoil.
"There seems no doubt that the debt upheaval besetting parts of the Eurozone has played, and will continue to play, a significant part in influencing prices."