London is the most popular destination for European travellers, according to research by online travel agent eDreams Odigeo.
EDreams also found that travel across the major cities in the continent had been “resilient” despite terrorism threats, with Paris as well as London seeing an increase in visitor numbers in 2017.
The Barcelona-based OTA also found that more affordable long-haul air travel led to a 29% rise in long-haul flights booked by European travellers.
Its findings were published in its second European Traveller Insights Report 2017, which tracks trends and booking behaviour from the past year.
Visitors to London from Europe rose 24% in 2017 against 2016, which eDreams put down to the impact on the value of sterling against the euro following the Brexit vote attracting tourists to see the capital.
Cities affected by terror attacks saw their visitor numbers increase. London has risen 24%, Berlin by 10% and Paris by 4%, compared to 2016. EDreams says this data suggests that traveller numbers have remained resilient, with no signs of a significant long-term impact to the numbers visiting these major European cities for 2017.
London has proved to have a particular draw for travellers from Italy (up 10%). Meanwhile, Paris is particularly favoured by the Portuguese (up 21%), while Berlin proves popular with German travellers (up 52%).
Since 2012, 15 long-haul, low-cost airlines have launched, with the cost of return long-haul flights for Europeans dropping by 7% in the last year – from an average of €610 in 2016 to €569 this year, which eDreams said “perhaps explains the 29% rise in long-haul flights booked by European travellers since 2016”.
The average cost of a long-haul flight for UK travellers in 2017 so far is £551 while the average cost in 2016 was £646.
Asia is one beneficiary of this trend, eDreams found, with flights booked by Europeans to New Delhi up 103% and Singapore up 79%, as the price of flights to these destinations dropped by 6% and 7% respectively.
Forward-booking data suggests this trend is to continue. Singapore tops the list of destinations with the biggest forward-booking growth in 2018, rising 163% so far. San Francisco, Miami and Los Angeles have all made the top list and eDreams says each has seen a reduction cost of flights this year – by 19%, 12% and 17% respectively.
EDreams said airlines across Europe are “increasingly engaging in a transatlantic price war”, noting Icelandic carrier WOW Air offers flights to the US for less than £100.
According to the data, The Azores has seen a big boost in European travellers with two locations, Terceira Island (up 155%) and Ponta Delgada (up 61%) both entering the top growth destinations for 2017. Podgorica (up 83%), the capital city of Montenegro, Gdansk in Poland (up 77%) and Salzburg in Austria (up 75%) have also recorded big increases in 2017.
EDreams says over a third (36%) of its European customers flew out and back with different airlines in 2017, 6% more than in 2016. Mobile is the method used to book 37% flights, after a 28% increase year-on-year. The typical European traveller books 26 days in advance of their travel date during January and February, on average. UK holidaymakers leave the widest window, at 36 days, while Portuguese passengers leave the smallest amount of time, at 22 days.
Dana Dunne, CEO of eDreams ODIGEO, said: “We are delighted to be publishing our second annual European Traveller Insights Report identifying new trends in the online travel market. As the largest online travel agency in Europe, serving over 18 million travellers each year, we have a deep understanding of European traveller preferences.
“Throughout 2016 and 2017 a number of challenging headwinds emerged but our bookings data shows that the online travel sector has remained resilient. The outlook for the sector is optimistic, with travellers across Europe remaining eager to visit perennial favourites such as London, as well as exploring further flung destinations such as New Delhi and Singapore.
“In particular, we’ve seen an increase in travellers taking advantage of more low-cost options for long-haul flights and new routes opening in Europe. EDreams ODIGEO exists to help travellers compare their options and book the best and most convenient deals for them. The additional choices presented by new market entrants for both short-haul and long-haul travel are welcome news to consumers and the travel industry.”
- Read the full report here.