More people in United Kingdom are opting for destinations outside the European Union (EU) for their holidays compared to previous years in the face of a Brexit impasse, according to travel company Thomas Cook. It said nearly half (48%) of the holidays it sold before the end of February in 2019 were to non-EU destinations – an increase of 10% on 2018.
Repeated delays to Brexit discouraged travellers from booking early and prompted them to look further afield, the travel firm said in a report. Adding, it was “clear that the prolonged uncertainty around the manner and timing of Britain’s exit from the European Union has led many to delay their decision on when and where they book for their summer holidays.”
Spain most popular
However, Spain remained the most popular destination of choice for the 19 million people who book holidays with Thomas Cook every year. Turkey and Tunisia were among those due to gain the most from the non-EU trend, seeing demand increasing again after a change to Foreign Office advice — terror attacks in both countries stalled bookings over the past few years. Greece was the third, while Tunisia was the seventh most popular option this summer, up from tenth last year.
The UK was set to leave the EU on March 29, but its departure was delayed due to an impasse in parliament over the terms of British Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal. The new deadline of October 31 has been agreed with Brussels.
Despite this, a majority of 3,422 British holidaymakers surveyed by Thomas Cook, the world’s oldest travel firm, still said they were more likely to holiday abroad than last year. A quarter said that a holiday in a foreign destination was higher in their spending priorities than in 2018, whereas just 8% said it was lower.