50% increase in US searches for UK flights – Press Release

London, 30 September 2009 – Experian Hitwise, the online competitive intelligence service, reveals that both American and Australian internet searches for flights to the UK have increased by more than 50% over the last 12 months.

Between August 2008 and August 2009 the volume of internet searches for a portfolio of search terms relating to searches for flights to the UK (for example: ‘cheap flights to the UK’, ‘london flights’, ‘flights to glasgow scotland’) increased by 55.6% in the US and 50.4% in Australia.

“The weakness of the pound against the dollar and euro resulted in a boom year for the domestic tourist industry this year, as many Britons chose to take a ‘staycation’ in the UK rather than go abroad,” commented Robin Goad, research director at Experian Hitwise, “In addition, the weak pound has had the effect of making the UK a cheaper destination for tourists from overseas.”

Over half of American and Australian searches for flights to the UK during August 2009 specified London, or one of its airports. The second most popular destination was Edinburgh. Other popular British travel related terms included ‘map of england ‘ (which was the most popular UK travel search term in the US) and ‘car hire uk’ (the most popular non-flight related UK travel search term in Australia).  

During August, British Airways was the second-biggest recipient of searches for UK-bound flights in the US after Cheapflights.com, while Virgin Atlantic ranked fifth. British Airways was also the most popular non-domestic airline website in the US, ranking 17th in the commercial airlines category during August, three places ahead of Lufthansa. Virgin Atlantic ranked 28th, while Ryanair was 47th and EasyJet 68th.

The airline that received most traffic from Australian searches for flights to the UK during August was Malaysia Airlines, followed by Emirates and Etihad. Virgin Atlantic ranked 5th, while British Airways was 6th and its codeshare partner Qantas fourth.

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