ISTANBUL, Turkey (eTN) – For the first time in 40 years Spain is no longer the most popular destination for British summer holidays, if latest figures are to be believed.
Turkey, according to Co-op Travel, has attracted over a third more holiday makers this year compared to 2007 and has seen ‘spectacular growth’ according to ABTA.
These figures echo tourism statistics from the Turkish Ministry of Culture and Tourism which reported a 15 percent increase in tourist arrivals for the first five months of 2008 compared to 2007.
One of the main reasons for the increase in popularity of Turkey is affordability according the Julian Walker, MD of specialist Turkish property agent, Spot Blue. He said: “Countries that are less likely to be considered now because of the gulf between the buying power of the weak pound against the mighty Euro are Spain, France and Cyprus – traditionally hugely popular overseas holiday destinations.
“The cost of living in Turkey is low compared to the UK and this is very attractive to British families hard hit by the credit crunch.”
Demand for accommodation in the most popular locations such as Dalaman and Antalya is high.
Dominic Whiting, publisher of the Buying in Turkey Guide, said: “Dalaman is one of the three gateway airports for the Turkish Mediterranean, so hundreds of thousands of British holidaymakers pass through each year on their way to resorts along the coast.
“But Dalaman itself is a stunning area where great beaches, a new golf course at Sarigerme, the lazy riverside resort of Dalyan and the posh Gocek marinas are attracting more and more British tourists and property buyers.”
This rise in tourist numbers also spells good news for the holiday home market. Figures estimate that over 30,000 Britons already own property in Turkey.
The Co-operative Travel Company reported that there had been a “seismic shift” in the way Britons were booking holidays this summer. Among its clients, Turkey had overtaken Spain, the favorite package holiday destination since the Sixties.
A large part of the reason for the shift is the poor exchange rate of the pound against the euro. Analysis by Co-operative Travel showed that the average cost of a holiday to Spain, which uses the euro, was £465 – over £100 more than the average cost of a holiday to Turkey (£357), which does not.
The independent travel group’s findings were based on research into more than 200,000 holidays to its 30 most popular foreign holiday destinations.
The group found that, while bookings to Majorca were down by 13 per cent compared with the same time last year, some 30 per cent more people were booking trips to Turkey. Egypt is also benefiting from the switch away from Spain, with bookings to Sharm el Sheikh up 38 per cent over last year.
“Turkey has benefited most from this trend and we’re seeing 30 per cent growth in bookings for holidays across all parts of the country.”
Thomson and First Choice believe that economic uncertainties, coupled with the strength of the euro, will prompt more holidaymakers to take advantage of “all-inclusive” or “full-board” breaks where the total price is known in advance.
Top 10 Foreign Holiday Destinations for British:
1. Turkey – Dalaman
4. Turkey – Bodrum
8. Costa Blanca
9. Sharm el Sheikh