Destination diversity is the latest trend in travel, a comparison of year-on-year search statistics by flight comparison site Cheapflights.co.uk indicates.
Top five climbers include Bodrum in Turkey, Erbil in Iraq and Kona, Hawaii in the first half of the year over the same period in 2010.
Those formerly bound for Egypt and Tunisia have turned to resort towns such as Bodrum for a similar offering in a more stable climate.
Ranked in 15th place is Zakynthos in Greece, which has risen by 25% year on year. Hit hard by recession, the country slashed its prices, particularly over the summer, by up to 60%. Travellers flocked for heavily discounted all-inclusive holidays in four and five star resorts.
The company’s ‘Rising Stars’ research reveals a list of 25, ranking the top five climbers for each of five continents: Europe, Asia/Oceania, North America, South America and Africa.
Topping the list in first place is Bodrum in Turkey with a 971% increase, surprisingly followed by the Iraqi town of Erbil, which experienced 504% growth, while Hawaii’s Kona came in third at 110% increase.
The Far East wins both fourth and fifth place with Hangzhou, China, and Sapporo in Japan increasing by 87% and 80% respectively.
Cheapflights’ travel expert Nadine Hallak said: “The trend shows that travel is still a priority even if budgets are tight. Continued economic slowdown has only served to create new destination trends with consumers literally willing to go the distance in places that will stretch their pounds.
“With its relative stability, northern Iraq first attracted business travellers, but now increased flights to the destination and development in the way of hospitality and hotels, has begun to draw intrepid tourists as well.”
Japan and China draw travellers for their shopping and cultural offerings. As new places open for business, people are more open to trying them for tourism purposes.
Evidence of this is clear further down the destinations list with Bujumbra in Burundi rising by 73%, Port Harcourt, Nigeria at 44%, and Bulawayo, Zimbabwe at 40%.