2011 travel predictions: where are the hot spots next year?

Tuesday 7, December 2010


2011 travel predictions: where are the hot spots next year?


Brits heading east for better value holidays; Orlando rides the Harry Potter high; Sir Lanka set to rise.


2010 has been another testing year for the travel industry with financial woes, ash cloud disruption and the ‘Big Freeze’ all taking their toll on travellers. However, travel remains a priority with Brits who are reluctant to sacrifice their holidays and are still travelling in massive numbers. 


With traffic to flights comparison site Skyscanner rising 62% year on year, 2011 looks to be a robust 12 months for the travel market, although patterns are changing as travellers seek the best possible value. Looking ahead to 2011, Skyscanner predicts the big destinations for Brits.


1. Orlando

Following massive publicity around the opening of Harry Potter’s Wizarding World this summer, Orlando is set to be extremely popular throughout 2011. The city is well known for its theme parks, and searches for flights to Orlando already rank number one on Skyscanner for travel in 2011. Interest will be further increased by the release of the final Potter film in July 2011 and the favourable USD-GBP exchange rate.


2. Philippines and Indonesia

Manila (+46 places) and Bali (+36 places) showed massive growth in traveller interest compared to last year’s rankings. Offering excellent value for money, these vast island nations are attracting budget conscious backpackers as well as higher-end travellers who may have already visited parts of South East Asia and now want to explore more of the region. Searches for flights to Bangkok were also on the rise, with the Thai capital moving up eight places to number three for 2011 travel.


3. Serbia, Slovenia and the Eastern Bloc

Eastern European countries in the Balkans and the Baltics will continue to see a rise in interest as British tourists become more aware that they offer a range of high quality holidays (ski, beach, city break) but at much lower prices than Western Europe. 


While many ski resorts traditionally popular with Brits may struggle to attract their normal visitor numbers this winter, Skyscanner has already seen a 130% rise in winter searches to Serbia, as savvy skiers head to Kopaonik, Serbia’s premier ski resort, for less than a third of the price of the French Alps.


4. Down Under

New Zealand will expect to see increased interest due to the World Cup Rugby which will bring more visitors and is likely to have a positive effect on searches for flights to Sydney and other part of Australia too. The filming of the two part Hobbit movie, due for release in 2012, will also help focus interest on ‘Middle Earth’. Christchurch entered the Top 100 most searched for destinations on Skyscanner for 2011, and Sydney moved up 10 places, entering the Top 10.


5. Sri Lanka

Capital Colombo was the highest new entry in Skyscanner’s 2011 Top 100, entering the rankings at number 66. The end of the 25 year civil war last year has meant that this once popular tourist destination is back on the map and set to see strong growth throughout 2011.


Social Travel Trends


  • In light of tougher financial times we expect to see an increase of travel to visit friends and family living abroad – a cheaper and often more rewarding option than a traditional holiday – and assisted by people reconnecting on Facebook
  • Blockbuster 2011 film releases such as The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, will increase ‘Jetsetter’ tourism to the places associated with the movies, such as Stockholm and Louisiana
  • More people will be travelling abroad this Easter due to the royal wedding and Easter holidays which allow 11 days of holiday by taking just 3 days leave. Skyscanner has already seen a 275% rise in searches for travel for this period since the wedding was announced



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