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Thomas Cook predicts travel trends for 2019

Thomas Cook has today announced its 2019 travel trend predictions. Based on its booking data and customer insight the travel company expects families will look further afield for next year’s summer holidays, Tunisia will continue to grow in popularity among Brits, as will our interest in conscious travel.

Far flung families

Families are being more adventurous than ever before and the thought of taking the little ones to further afield destinations is no longer daunting – it’s the new normal. Over the past two years, Thomas Cook Airlines flight-only bookings among families have consistently grown. This July, family long-haul trips were up 64% year-on-year, while August trips were up 44%.

Family-favourite Orlando remains in the top spot but perhaps surprisingly making up the rest of the top five for flight-only family bookings is New York, Cancun, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Having taken the kids abroad since they were babies, parents are confident to travel long-haul and give children the chance to experience different countries and cultures. This trend is predicted to continue with early family bookings for long-haul flights to America for next summer up 27% year-on-year.

When it comes to package holidays, this summer families accounted for 46% of all long-haul bookings. Looking ahead to next summer, as well as America, Cancun is proving popular with early family bookings up 22% year-on-year.

Tunisia is trending

Following the re-introduction of Tunisia to British holidaymakers at the start of 2018, Thomas Cook has increased the number of flights and hotels throughout the year to meet customer demand and for next summer is offering 27 hotels across six resorts and 17 weekly flights from the UK, up from 11 this summer.

Driven by quality holidays at an affordable price thanks to it being a non-Euro destination, as well as its soft white sands and rich roman heritage, appetite for Tunisia shows no sign of slowing down and Thomas Cook is predicting it as a hotspot for 2019. This time last year summer 2018 package holidays had only been available to book for a few months however bookings for next summer are currently up five-fold, indicating that sunshine at a fair price is a factor in the return of this old favourite destination. The share of family bookings is up 16% year-on-year meaning that families so far account for 66% of summer 2019 bookings - a higher proportion than to the Canaries or Cyprus.

It’s cool to be conscious

In the year when the conversation around the nation’s plastic use went mainstream, Thomas Cook saw its customers start to consider this in their holiday booking process - one third say that noticing litter on a beach would affect their decision whether to visit that destination again.

It wasn’t just plastics, attitudes towards animal welfare became even more apparent with two in three customers describing attractions which featured performing animals as ‘not at all appealing’.

Thoughtful Travel among consumers is set to continue into 2019 as holidaymakers no longer just consider which destination to travel to or hotel to stay in. Instead they are much more aware of their own impact on popular tourist destinations and crucially, they want to book with a company that takes these issues seriously. 65% of travellers say that they are more likely to travel with a company that is committed to reducing its own use of plastic items while four in five said they would choose a company with a strong record on animal welfare.

Commenting on next year’s predictions, Ingo Burmester, Thomas Cook Chief of UK, said:

“Exploring the world has never been easier and it’s encouraging to see that longer flights are not putting families off travelling further afield and we expect next year parents will continue to open their children’s eyes to new countries and experiences. Despite re-introducing it under a year ago, Tunisia has established itself as a favourite among couples and families and is one to watch for next year.

“It’s also clear that holidaymakers consider much more than just sunny beaches and beautiful hotels when booking a holiday today. Their own impact on holiday destinations, and a company’s commitment to positive change, is now much higher on customers’ agendas - something Thomas Cook won’t let up on in 2019.”

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