British holidaymakers increasingly chose staycations this year amid wildfires across Europe and soaring air fares, with domestic trips proving popular again for 2024, according to accommodation search website Trivago.
The group’s recently appointed chief executive Johannes Thomas said UK hotel bookings in the third and fourth quarters of the year are dominated by domestic destinations.
The rising cost of flights has been a big factor in the increasing popularity of domestic holidays, he told the PA news agency.
He said: “The UK is a very domestic market. Part of that is down to airline tickets, which are significantly more expensive.
“Overall across the globe, it’s true for the US, Europe and the UK that people are going closer to home.
“They’re travelling shorter distances and choosing to stay shorter periods and that’s probably a sign of higher ticket prices.”
Mr Thomas’s comments come after Ryanair warned last week of more steep hikes in air fares this winter.
The Irish airline said its fares surged by 24% on average in its first half and are set for a further “mid-teens percentage” rise over the final three months of 2023.
Mr Thomas said flight prices have increased by more than 30% since 2019, before the pandemic struck, but there is some hope of relief.
“Since the middle of 2023, we’ve seen prices plateauing,” he said.
Trivago’s UK booking data shows that seven of the top 10 bookings destinations for Christmas 2023 are domestic locations, with London, Llandudno in Wales and Edinburgh the three most popular choices.
Britons are also choosing to celebrate the New Year in the UK, with London, Edinburgh and Blackpool among the top five places to see in the start of 2024.
The outlook for the first half of next year shows a similar trend, with more than half of the 10 most popular holiday destinations in the UK and Ireland for British travellers.
Germany-based Trivago, which is majority-owned by Expedia, said its bookings show that despite the trend towards staycations, international travel demand has continued to bounce back since the pandemic.
But the heatwaves and wildfires seen across Europe appear to be putting off some travellers, with searches on the site signalling a drop in demand for Greece and Italy.
Thousands of UK holidaymakers were on the Greek island of Rhodes when parts of it were devastated by wildfires in July.
Trivago said its bookings data also shows the cost pressures faced by consumers and moves to make savings on travel, with a fall in average price per night and length of stay.
But he said despite the cost crisis, “we see the appetite for travel remaining very high”.
“People feel a strong necessity to travel… and want to get out and experience the world,” he said.
Here are the top 10 destinations for the first half of 2024, according to Trivago bookings:
5 New York
Published: by Radio NewsHub