Long-Haul Beach Breaks Fall From Favor

Oliver Smith, The Daily Telegraph, May 29, 2013

Hayes & Jarvis reported a sharp fall in bookings to several traditional beach destinations for 2013, including the Caribbean and the Maldives, but a rise in bookings to Brazil, Vietnam, and East Africa.

Sales of holidays to Barbados and Antigua, both traditionally favoured by Britons, fell by more than 50 per cent, it said, while bookings for trips to the Indian Ocean archipelago have fallen by a third, compared with last year.

While other factors may have influenced the dip in sales – the value of the pound has fallen significantly against both the Barbadian and the East Caribbean dollar in the last six months, and tourists were recently urged to boycott the Maldives – Hayes & Jarvis said the trend showed that Britons are growing tired of one-dimensional beach holidays.

“There is no doubting the steady decline in demand for traditional fly-and-flop beach holidays,” said Sean Dowd of Hayes & Jarvis. “A growing number of people are keen to see more of what a country – or a region of the world – has to offer when they travel long-haul.”

Vietnam has been among those destinations to benefit. In late 2011 the first direct flights from Britain to the country were launched, prompting a rise in bookings last year. Sales shot up again in 2013, by 98 per cent, Mr Dowd said.

Bookings to Kenya and Tanzania rose by 51 per cent and 37 per cent, respectively, compared with 2012, while sales of safari holidays nearly tripled. The tour operator attributed the trend in part to David Attenborough’s Africa wildlife documentary, which aired on BBC One earlier this year.

South Africa also grew in popularity, with bookings up 35 per cent compared with last year. During that time the pound has strengthened by around seven per cent against the rand.

H&J's best selling long-haul destinations for 2013

1. New York

2. Las Vegas

3. Thailand

4. The Maldives

5. Mexico

6. Mauritius

7. Dubai

8. California

9. Kenya

10. St Lucia