Destination Insights

Top destinations in 2019 are predicted to be The Turkish Riviera, Egypt, The Peloponnese (Greece), Matera (Italy), Perth (Western Australia), The Scottish Highlands, St Barths (Caribbean), Arles (France), Valle de Guadalupe and New Orleans. (CN Traveller 2019)

TV shows have increasingly brought travellers to destinations, but in 2019 we will see this grow even further. “Game of Thrones fans got a treat in Las Vegas last month with a twice-nightly fountain show at the Bellagio (watch it here). And GOT filming locations like Northern Ireland and Croatia have seen surges of visitors seeking a real-life peek at the show’s incredible backdrops.” (CN Traveller 2019)

And China outbound travel continues to grow

“Chinese tourism is ‘FIT’ and healthy,” says ForwardKeys vice president insights, Olivier Ponti, summing up the latest travel trends. ForwardKeys’ analysis of outbound tourism in the first four months of this year reveals that independent (FIT) travel grew by 12.7%. “It reflects growing confidence in doing one’s own thing”, particularly in the case of younger and more experienced travellers,” Ponti points out. (TTR Weekly 2019)

The trends were particularly marked during the Chinese New Year, at the end of January and early February, which is the busiest time for Chinese outbound travel, accounting for around three-quarters of total international air departures during the first three months of 2019. (TTR Weekly 2019)

Overtourism is reaching breaking point

“International-tourist arrivals around the world have gone from a little less than 70 million as of 1960 to 1.4 billion today.” (The Atlantic 2019)

Last year international tourist arrivals worldwide reached 1.4 billion, two years ahead of schedule according to the UN World Tourism Organisation. France, the world’s most popular country, is expecting a record 100 million visitors a year by 2020 and destinations from Rome to Reykjavik, Goa to the Galapagos and Boracay to Bali are straining under the weight of too many tourists. (Stuff 2019)

Overtourism is finally being addressed due to extreme measures. In 2019, the Louvre Museum in Paris that was shut down for a day when workers walked out due to overtourism. Union representatives say renovation work around the “Mona Lisa,” the museum’s most famous painting, had led to organisational problems, huge queues, and the harassment of staff by frustrated tourists. (Skift 2019)

And the effects of Brexit are showing

EasyJet issued a Brexit warning in May 2019 after they posted a loss before tax of £272m in its half-year results, compared to a loss of £68m the same time last year. “Brexit increased fuel costs and the Gatwick drone incident which caused the carrier to lose millions between October and March are to blame.” (Express 2019)

British Airways’ owner International Airlines Group was in agreement with the hit of increased fuel costs. “Its fuel bill is forecast to have rocketed by around €250m between January to March, compared with the same period last year.” But, BA chief executive Willie Walsh said British Airways “don’t see any Brexit impact going forwards.” (Telegraph 2019)

Especially for UK outbound travel

“When we asked British residents if they were planning a domestic holiday, or had already stayed at a UK holiday destination in 2019… According to data from our survey, the on-going confusion surrounding Brexit is prompting around one in 10 people to plan a British holiday, instead of travelling to Europe.” (Cabin Bookers 2019)

Savvas Perdios, the deputy minister of tourism in Cyprus shared that there was a “drop by 6.9% in March” of British arrivals in March 2019. “As it stands, Britain remains the vital market for the tourist trade, delivering 38% of all overseas visitors and over 20% of all foreign tourism revenue.” (Cyprus Mail 2019)

“Fewer Europeans are now visiting the UK and according to tourism agency ‘Visit Britain’; overseas arrivals were down 5.3% last year, while a similar pattern has been observed in the first few months of 2019.” (Albawaba Business 2019)

Yet, this may just be the short-term impact of uncertainty. In January 2019, “the national media picked up on a government warning to travellers to check passports are sufficiently up to date for EU travel if there is no deal. The Express reported “3.5m passports could be INVALID after Brexit.” (Travel Weekly 2019)

Climate change increases destination popularity

As part of a survey to UK residents, “75% of the people we surveyed expressed that they were concerned about climate change. One in seven people also said they chose UK holidays as they are more environmentally friendly.” (Cabin Bookers 2019)

And as flight shaming is growing, more travellers are staying local. The Swedish-born “anti-flying” movement has grown and is moving to more destinations. “One flight-boycotting British attorney, who formerly loved to travel, told Reuters, “It’s a tough pill to swallow, but when you look at the issues around climate change, then the sacrifice all of a sudden becomes small.” (Forbes 2019)