Although the number of UK residents who have booked their annual trips in European Union countries has gone down this year, following a continuing trend since the referendum on leaving the bloc in June 2016, Spain is still the most-chosen country for British holidaymakers.
Thomas Cook says nearly half of all trips across the industry, not just through their own agencies, booked for this year are in countries outside Europe – 48% overall, or 10% higher than in 2018.
But Spain accounts for the most bookings, followed by Turkey, Greece, the USA and Cyprus, in that order.
Holidays in Tunisia are now experiencing an upsurge as the British foreign office lifted its recommendation against all but necessary travel to the north African Mediterranean country just over a year ago.
The advice against travel to Tunisia was put in place in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack on a hotel beach in Sousse in June 2015, which ISIS claimed to have perpetrated and in which over 30 people – nearly all tourists and mostly Brits – were killed.
Chief executive of Thomas Cook, Peter Frankhauser, said it was still ‘early days’ in terms of working out how far the delay in the Brexit deadline until October 31 had had a positive or negative effect on package holiday booking figures, but that there was ‘little doubt’ that ‘prolonged uncertainty’ about the ‘form Brexit would take’ or the exact moment of departure from the EU had ‘led to many customers taking a raincheck on their summer holiday plans’ for this year.
The EU has already announced that no visa would be required for anyone from the UK travelling to one of the remaining 27 member States for periods of 90 days or fewer within a 180-day period, in a bid to avoid barriers to tourism – however, with the pound sterling having depleted from around €1.40 to approximately €1.15 since the referendum, trips to European countries are now more expensive for British residents.
Luckily, despite the falling pound, Spain’s largest national tourism market continues to be the UK, with nearly half of all foreign travellers being from the British Isles.