The Lagos city of Nigeria, and Nairobi in Kenya, are among the most popular 2018 non-European summer holiday destinations for Brits, according to new research released yesterday.
The research conducted by Kayak.co.uk revealed growing preference for African destinations over Las Vegas, United States; Sydney, Australia; or Cancun, Mexico.
The implication, according to travel experts, is additional traffic and revenue for operating local and international airlines, coupled with gains for top drawer hospitality businesses.
The popular travel site analysed searches made by Brits for holidays beyond the continent in July and August, and discovered that demand for trips to Nairobi are up 156 per cent – and to Mombasa on the Kenyan coast by 181 per cent.
Lagos isn’t far behind – searches for trips to this city have shot up 96 per cent, compared to 2017.
The analysis only came from one search site – Kayak.co.uk – and so did not include actual bookings, but still, the surge in searches for these African cities is significant.
Kayak.co.uk said Nairobi had shot up the rankings in popularity (judged by searches) from 48th in 2017 to 15th in 2018. Demand for trips to Mombasa has nearly tripled in just one year.
It is now Britain’s 44th most popular international holiday destination for this summer – just behind Cape Town – having previously not featured close to the top 100.
Lagos has also made huge strides, jumping from 31st place to 13th when it comes to overall demand. And Johannesburg is up one place from 22nd to 21st.
The top three most popular non-European destinations for Brits are New York, Orlando (both in the U.S.), and in third place is Colombo in Sri Lanka, with its tourism boom continuing after decades of civil war.
Manila in the Philippines, meanwhile, has also stormed into the top 10, and is now the sixth most popular international holiday destination, with a year-on-year increase of 69 per cent.
India also saw solid gains in demand, with Chennai up 57 per cent and Mumbai up 30 per cent.
When it comes to Europe, the two biggest trends for this summer are the resurgence of Turkey, and the increasing popularity of Eastern Europe.
Istanbul has seen demand increase by 114 per cent this summer compared to last year, rising from the 29th most popular European destination to eighth.
Meanwhile, Antalya in Turkey has seen demand increase by 92 per cent, climbing to 19th place, having previously been out of the top 50.
Bodrum, on Turkey’s southwest coast, has seen its demand increase by 45 per cent, placing it 39th overall.
However, the European destination that has seen its popularity increase the most for this summer compared to last is Bucharest in Romania, which has jumped from 46th place to 15th, thanks to a huge increase in demand of 125 per cent.
Also in Eastern Europe, the Albanian capital Tirana has seen demand soar by 76 per cent, moving up to 17th from 41.
The strongest demand at Kayak.co.uk overall this summer in Europe has been for traditional favourites Alicante, followed by Malaga (both in Spain), and Faro in Portugal.
The destinations that are falling out of favour include Ibiza, Spain, (down 42 per cent), Prague, the Czech Republic (down 42 per cent), Los Angeles (down 32 per cent), San Francisco (down 35 per cent), Las Vegas (down 40 per cent), Chicago (down 33 per cent) and Boston (down 45 per cent) all in the U.S.
The weakened pound may be one cause of this decline, in spite of the recent rebound.
Neil Cartwright, travel expert at Kayak.co.uk, said: “Internationally, there has been a huge shift towards the Subcontinent as well as Africa – the increase in demand for Kenyan destinations in particular is quite sensational.
“And we couldn’t have predicted a few years ago that Sri Lanka would become Brits’ third most popular international destination overall.
“This might also suggest that Brits are looking for alternatives to the summer classics and are searching out more exotic destinations that they haven’t visited before. Unfortunately, the USA is the country to be missing out the most. Demand has been falling for a few years now and overall, we are seeing year-on-year declines of around a third to popular destinations,” Cartwright.