Air fares dropped in price by approximately 13 percent in 2016 and a further fall is expected in 2017.
Unsurprisingly, low cost flights are attracting a larger number of flyers. Yet, they aren’t travelling to the destinations that you might expect.
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Popular holiday destinations such as France, USA and Spain still lead the way. Hundreds of millions of tourists flock to those three countries each year.
However, the tourism industry has thrown up some surprising numbers in a recent report published by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation.
While they might not be the most popular travel spots, these five destinations have seen the largest growth in visitor numbers so far this year:
It might not be the safest of ideas, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.
However, more and more holidaymakers are making their way to West Bank, with Palestine experiencing a 57.8 percent rise in tourist arrivals so far this year.
The spike comes following a recent push to attract visitors to the area earlier this year.
The Palestinian Authority have used the area’s religious history and Biblical landmarks as a selling point. According to UNWTO, it’s doing the job.
After years of growth, tourism in Egypt hit its peak in 2010, with 14.7m people visiting the country.
However, the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 saw Egypt’s tourism industry spiral downwards.
The downing of Flight 9268 in 2015, which was confirmed as a terrorist incident, certainly hasn’t helped.
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Yet, according to UNWTO, Egypt is making a comeback this year.
Tourism has climbed by 51 percent in 2017, proving that the pull of the ancient Egyptian pyramids is too powerful for tourists to resist.
Northern Mariana Islands
Holidays are all about palm trees and sandy shores. The Northern Mariana Islands offer plenty of both in an idyllic, quiet location.
Unsurprisingly, given that it is essentially unheard of, the small group of islands only attracts around 0.5m visitors annually. However, tourist numbers have increased by 37.3 percent so far this year.
As more people hear about Saipan’s turtle inhabited beaches and Managaha’s coral-rich waters, the Northern Mariana Islands can expect the popularity climb to continue.
Previously branded a “Disneyland for adults” due to its high tourist population, the number of people visiting the Nordic island continues to rise. In fact, the number of tourists last year surpassed Norway’s population.
That is likely to be the case once again this year, given that numbers climbed by 34.9 percent in the first half of 2017.
Incredibly, Iceland’s tourism industry has a natural disaster to thank for its recent boom.
Rather than putting off potential visitors, the 2010 Eyjafjallajokull eruption has seen tourist numbers grow by 20 percent year-on-year since.
Tourist numbers fell by approximately 20 percent in the wake of a chilling terror attack on a Tunisian beach back in 2015. Further political unrest last year damaged the North African countries tourism industry further.
Yet, it seems holidaymakers, eager to pick up a cheap deal, are undeterred. The number of tourists heading to Tunisia has surged back this year, increasing by 32.5 percent during the first half of the year.
The Foreign Office has downgraded Tunisia’s danger level ahead of the summer. As a result, it might not be long until its sun-soaked coast is back to its best.
Why are travel tastes changing?
A week in Benidorm or trip to the south of France was once a necessity during a (usually rainy) British summer. However, the UNWTO report shows that travel interests are changing.
According to the World Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation, that is largely due to the millennial generation, who are ditching sand and sun in search of new experiences.
The study, which looked at 34,000 travellers across 137 countries, found that the usual city stops, such as Barcelona and Paris, were less popular with millennials. Instead, they were off in search of the remote, unusual and often dangerous destinations that frequent their Instagram feeds.
UNWTO seem to agree. They put the tourism industry’s growth down to a “technologically-savvy millennial generation that is setting the pace of global tourism growth.”
As a result, places like Palestine and Iceland are reaping the rewards, with millennials splashing out more than $200b annually on travel.