Long-haul travel and the US are set for a big 2016, according to a new study from travel deals firm Travelzoo.
An annual survey of 5,000 active travellers in the UK, Germany, US, Canada, France, Spain, China and Australia claims to have found “unprecedented” interest in long-haul travel.
Travelzoo's Travel Trends survey put the US top for the first time on British travellers' wish list, with almost a third of respondents (32%) nominating it as the destination they most want to visit in 2016, narrowly beating Italy (31%) into second place.
With 30% indicating they plan to stay in the UK next year, old favourite Spain was pushed into fourth place with 25%.
Despite the tragic events in Paris last month, France (18%) retained its top five place in the list of countries British holidaymakers most want to visit.
The Caribbean (15%), Australia (15%) and Canada (12%) also made the top 10, showing an on-going trend among Brits for longer-haul travel destinations.
The high level of interest in the US and Western Europe is offset by dip in consumer confidence regarding holidays to some North African destinations.
Some 80% of those surveyed said the turbulent events of 2015 have changed their travel plans next year and a fifth (20%) said they will spend more time considering airline and travel routes due to concerns over safety and terrorism.
Louise Hodges, Travelzoo head of communications, said: “British travel habits are changing and 2016 is very much looking to be the 'year of the US’, with record levels of interest in holidays to both the East and West Coast.
“For the first time, America has overtaken European favourites such as Italy, France and Spain as the most desired holiday destination for British travellers.
“With four long-haul destinations now in the top 10 and airlines opening up new travel routes that take advantage of the lower cost of fuel, we expect to see long-haul destinations continuing to grow in popularity in 2016.”
Hodges added: “It’s interesting to see the US knock European destinations off the top spot, but Europe is still looking very strong for next year.
“We can say with certainty that the agents we work alongside see Italy as one of the biggest and fastest-growing destinations for UK tourists.
“The food, culture and short flight times are a massive draw for British tourists. It’s also great to see long-standing favourite France remaining in the top five, in spite of the attacks in Paris.
“We are also hearing from UK travel agents and airlines that Eilat in Israel is tipped for a resurgence of interest next year.
“New airlines routes are opening up and we’ve seen some incredible deals to this winter sun destination which looks set to gain UK interest as Sharm el-Sheikh continues to remain closed for business.”
According to booking trends seen by Travelzoo US destinations attracting high interest for 2016 include Boston, New York and other East Coast areas, while in Italy, hot spots include Ischia, Sardinia, Sicily, Sorrento and Brindisi.
Hodges said, “The large tour operators and airlines are starting their sales now with some offering ‘children stay free’ offers and reductions of up to 50% on some long-haul routes.
“With sale prices expected to be more competitive than ever, British holidaymakers should perhaps consider travelling further afield next year to take advantage of the steep price reductions we are seeing in the market.”
The top 10 destinations British tourists want to visit in 2016:
1. US (32%)
2. Italy (31%)
3. UK (30%)
4. Spain (25%)
5. France (18%)
6. Greece (16%)
=7. Caribbean (15%)
=7. Australia (15%)
9. Portugal (14%)
10. Canada (12%)
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