Brits travelling long-haul are beginning to forsake traditional seven-night beach holidays in favour of packing different experiences into one trip according to Hayes and Jarvis' latest Long Haul Trend Report, which reveals that the destinations making waves in 2013 are ones which lend themselves to a combination of city, beach and culture or heritage tours.
Leading the charge is Vietnam, which has shown the strongest growth worldwide this year and where more than two-thirds of bookings are now for multi-centre trips. The operator reports that Africa has also benefited from growing demand for holidays that combine contrasting elements, while its bestselling destinations - New York and Las Vegas – have both seen sizeable increases in bookings where a second city or beach stay is added to the package.
The company's head of commercial Sean Dowd said “While off-the-peg beach packages are still popular – especially four- and five-star all-inclusive ones, there is no doubting the steady decline in demand for traditional fly-and-flop beach holidays. In sharp contrast, our multi-centre trip bookings have doubled over the past two years because growing numbers of people are keen to see more of what a country – or a region of the world – has to offer when they travel further afield. Multi-centre trips now account for more than a third of our business and this growth trend is one which we expect to accelerate.”
The Long Haul Trend Report also reveals that destinations which have historically been the operator's favourites are struggling to compete this year. Tough market conditions including increased land costs and poor exchange rates have impacted on the Maldives and bookings have fallen by 35%. By contrast, Mauritius has registered an 11% rise overall so far in 2013 and sales were 60% ahead of the previous year for the winter sun season just ended.
Dowd said: “Mauritius may yet prove to be the new Maldives. Strong airfare and hotel offers, high quality all-inclusive resorts and the opportunity to twin with Dubai and other cities have all helped to fuel demand.”
The drop-off in demand experienced by the Maldives has been even more marked in the major Caribbean Islands, continuing a trend first noted by the operator in its February Trend Report. Barbados (-51%), and Antigua (-58%) have seen the biggest drops but their pain has been Tobago and the Dominican Republic’s gain. Tobago has seen a healthy increase in bookings – up 16% for the year to date but with forward summer bookings looking even better, while the Dominican Republic has built on its growth last year, with 14% more bookings so far in 2013.