Travel Tip - Want to avoid the crowds? Don't go to these places then
Whilst there are far fewer ads on the TV than there used to be, the holiday booking season is upon us. It's time for our annual flock to the sun in search of a little time out of the rat race. So where are we going? It seems that the Costas are (finally) on the wane and our tastes are increasingly diversified. ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) has just released its report on travel trends for 2010. They make interesting reading and show how fashions have changed in the last 10 years or so.
Top of the list will be a trip to South Africa in the second half of June and first half of July. The World Cup and a safari. What a great combination? Alternatively last year's most popular books and films will also have an influence. The setting for the Twilight franchise, Forks, in Washington State is expecting a large influx of visitors (don't they know how much it rains there?). Jamie Oliver's American Road Trip should also cause increased numbers on ranched-based holidays, in the lesser known states and Indian reservations. This year's City of Culture, Istanbul, will also be popular.
What on earth are "chadventures"? Holidays that allow travellers to give something back to their destination - a combination of adventure and raising money for charity, or 'volunturism' based breaks - are gaining currency with some tour operators that are even partnering with NGOs
Yesterday's war zones
With the Tamil Tigers laying down arms last year, Sri Lanka looks like retrieving its popularity as a holiday destination. Bookings are likely to increase to Mexico and Thailand, two countries that had more of their fair share of troubles in 2009. There was a trickle of people going to Iraq last year and the country is even promoting itself as a holiday destination. That may be a step too far for most people though.
Egypt, Turkey and Morocco
More traditional holiday destinations will still be popular but further afield. This may have something to do with the euro exchange rate, but also investment in luxury hotels and infrastructure, including more efficient airports and roads, will influence holidaymakers looking for high standards at lower costs
At the end of 2010, Air Passenger Duty is set for a large hike, so long haul destinations, particularly the US, Kenya, the Caribbean and Australia, will all be popular.
Fixed-price, all-inclusive holidays should continue to be popular as well as high end accommodation without big price tags - Spain now offers luxury options to broaden its appeal and even Butlins has taken the upmarket route to entice holidaymakers (and businesses). Cruises look set to increase their record passenger numbers of 2009 and will shake off their boring image next year with a mixture of innovations tempting holidaymakers who want a little more. In 2010 will we see cruisers being able to buy vouchers to drink as much as they want and book dedicated naked cruises (seriously)? Las Vegas, Dominican Republic and Turkey will all benefit from increased flights making travel even easier. Holidays will be influenced by films and books. Forks, Washington State, the setting of the Twilight teen vampire saga, experienced a 10-fold increase in visitor numbers in 2009, that's a trend that probably won't be reversing any time soon. Shopaholics will take advantage of a more stable dollar/pound exchange rate and get inspiration from Sex and the City 2 and to indulge themselves in New York. And then there's the opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, Florida. Aspiring authors dream of their books being turned into films, but Theme Parks? Surreal.
The quest for new destinations will lead holiday makers to visit countries with which they are not familiar. They have different laws and customs so doing research is essential. The first port of call is the Foreign and Commonwealth office web site, but a plethora of other sites exist to make your trip just that bit better.