longhaul Kuoni

Demand for long-haul breaks up as travellers look beyond Europe

2019 could be the year of the long-haul trip, as long-haul holiday sales to countries around the world are 4% up with people looking beyond Europe for this year's travel plans, according to travel company Kuoni.

Nervousness around Britain's exit from Europe remains one of the biggest conversations around booking a holiday, so further afield destinations which offer more reassurance alongside good quality all-inclusive options are selling well.

Some of the places seeing particularly strong sales for 2019 include The Maldives, Thailand and Sri Lanka, which all make the top 10 in Kuoni's Worldwide Travel Report.

Derek Jones, CEO of DER Touristik UK, parent company of Kuoni, said: “With a news agenda dominated by the ongoing EU debate, many people are looking further afield than they may usually do. Holidays are not something people will forgo easily.   We've seen strong demand for long-haul countries, which seem to be cushioned from the worries people have around Europe.”

 “Whilst January remains the peak booking month for travel, there's a strong indication that in 2019 we will see holiday sales, particularly for short-haul destinations, more evenly spread throughout the year as people wait to understand more about what exiting the EU really mean.”

The Maldives remains top of the list of best-selling destinations, with an array of new resorts in the pipeline.

Sri Lanka is at number two position for 2019 with the company witnessing bookings 8% ahead of last year, with much of the growth coming from multi-centre itineraries to include visits to include everything from beaches to tea plantations.

Italy is the only European destination to make the top 10 and is listed at seventh position, with bookings driven by honeymoons, destination weddings and luxury stays.

At the eighth position, India has risen two places since last year, with sales 4% ahead.

Japan is listed as one of the rising stars - it's been steadily making its way up the list of best-sellers for the past three years, and is up another three places to 24 for 2019. From the Rugby World cup in September to the Olympic and Paralympic Games build up for 2020, Japan will be getting plenty of exposure this year.

A new destination to the UK market, Ajman in the UAE is listed as one to watch. It's not as well-known as neighbouring Dubai but with some of the best beaches, luxury hotels and a keener price point than Dubai, its creating its own identity as a winter sun choice rather than a stop-over.

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