More holidaymakers choose non-EU destinations for summer breaks
More UK holidaymakers are choosing non-European Union countries for their summer holiday this year, new figures suggest.
Thomas Cook reported that 48% of its package holiday bookings for this summer are to destinations outside the bloc, up 10 percentage points from the same time last year.
The tour operator said the weakness of the pound against the euro is the most likely cause for the trend.
Turkey has seen the biggest growth in demand, leapfrogging Greece to become this summer’s second most popular package holiday destination after Spain and accounts for a quarter of all Thomas Cook Airlines flight-only bookings.
It offers sandy beaches, salt lakes and ancient ruins.
Tunisia is another non-European Union destination faring well, with package trip bookings doubled year-on-year.
Thomas Cook said the prolonged uncertainty around Brexit has led many holidaymakers to delay their decision on when and where to book.
But a survey of 3,422 of its customers found that taking an overseas summer holiday remains as important as ever, with the majority saying they are more likely to holiday abroad this year than in 2018.
Will Waggott, chief of tour operating for Thomas Cook, said: “Britain may be living through unique times from a political perspective, however our desire to holiday abroad is clear.
“Thomas Cook’s 2019 Holiday Report reveals that the political turmoil is having an impact in other ways, revealing itself in a clear shift to non-EU countries and a growth in all-inclusive.
“Turkey has already overtaken Greece to claim the number two spot of most desirable summer destinations and Tunisia is working its way back up the popularity stakes as it re-establishes itself as a hotspot for British tourists.”
Here are the five most popular destinations for summer 2019, according to Thomas Cook:
1. Spain (mainland Spain, the Balearics and the Canary Islands)