According to the latest Long Haul Trend Report from Hayes & Jarvis, Thailand is back in favour with holidaymakers after a year when national carrier Thai Airways went all out to offer a series of specially-priced flight fares that helped to secure a spike in bookings for the destination. The report also reveals that Vietnam has been another big winner for this year, but, while the Far East gained ground as the year progressed, New York trumped the opposition to emerge as the most popular destination worldwide.
In what the operator describes as an “extremely strong short breaks market”, New York benefited from heavy demand for summer trips, Christmas shopping breaks, twin-centre holidays with Boston, linked by Amtrak, and even early bookings for 2013. Las Vegas was not far behind in fourth place with holiday bookings boosted by high demand for trips combining Sin City with San Francisco or Hawaii.
However, after the company's last trend update six months ago when holidays travelling westward to the USA, Caribbean and Mexico were outperforming traditional favourites in the east, Far East destinations have gone a long way to redress the balance. Thailand is back in the top ten in the runner up position after recovering well from a poor performance earlier this year.
The operator's commercial director, Niel Alobaidi, says that the recovery has been helped by a “determined long term policy by Thai Airways to offer the kind of prices that have enabled us to offer seven-night packages from as little as £599 per person.”
He said: "This autumn canny travellers can find Thailand prices down by as much as 12% compared with last year on the Andaman coast provided, they are flexible about their resort. For example, a four-star flight-inclusive package to Krabi in November costs £699 compared with £795 12 months ago in Phuket.
"Growth in demand for multi-centre breaks combining Thailand with other destinations in either the Middle East or Far East is another factor that has helped to account for an 8% boost to bookings this year – rising to 20% for bookings that include Thai Airways flights. Smaller Far East destinations like Vietnam, Cambodia and Japan have also done well. Japan has recovered well from turmoil in 2011 with a 44% increase in bookings while Vietnam, already a rising star, has put on growth of 41% year-on-year on the back of direct flights and attractively-priced packages."