Mid-haul destinations, such as Morocco, are the latest travel hotspots, according to Thomson and First Choice’s new Trends Report 2008-09.
More than one fifth of holidays taken with Thomson and First Choice in 2007 were outside Europe, as opposed to just 15 per cent in 2003 and the number is set to rise further in 2009.
Market research company Mintel also confirmed the increasing popularity of countries such as Morocco, Egypt and Middle Eastern destinations including Dubai, Oman and the other Emirates thanks to their mix of guaranteed warmth, lower prices and a touch more exoticism than familiar destinations in the Med.
‘It’s happening across the board,’ says Richard Cope, senior travel analyst at Mintel. ‘The euro is a big factor - people were sheltered this summer by brochure prices which were fixed at the beginning of the year, but prices will rise for 2009, meaning people will look increasingly at countries outside the eurozone. And the new Easyjet routes into Morocco have also made it more accessible. People are competitive about their holidays, and [may feel] there is something a bit old-hat about the Med.’
Mainstream operators are reacting to the growing demand by developing their mid-haul programmes; Kuoni now has stand-alone Arabia & North Africa and Dubai brochures. ‘The mid-haul market is faring well,’ says Anne-Marie Hansen of Kuoni. Morocco is a new entry into the Kuoni Top 20 destinations chart ousting previously established destinations such as Jamaica and Mexico.
Source : The Observer, Sunday September 21 2008