Brits are shunning EU holidays in favour of Turkey

Lycian Way, Turkey

The Brexit phenomenon strikes again. Sick of uncertainty and politics, Brits are eschewing traditional favourites Spain and Greece in favour of Turkey's sunny shores, with travel agency Thomas Cook's Holiday Report showing that the number of  package holidays sold to British people has shot up 27 percent over last year.

Brexit uncertainty

The original March 29 deadline for leaving the European has been and gone. The terms of Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal is still being chewed over, delaying Britains exit. A new deadline of October 31 has been agreed with Brussels, causing grumbles and tension in the UK, where frustrations are mounting.

This uncertainty has played a part in the holiday figures, said a spokesman for Thomas Cook.

"It's 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." 

However, the majority of the 3422 British holidaymakers surveyed by the travel company said they were more likely to holiday abroad than last year, with a quarter saying a foreign holiday was higher in their budget priorities than it was in 2018. Just eight percent said it was lower.

"Britain may be living through unique times from a political perspective, however our desire to holiday abroad is clear," said Will Waggott, Chief of Tour Operating for Thomas Cook.

"The political turmoil is having an impact in other ways, revealing itself as a clear shift to non-EU countries.


Currency woes

Thomas Cook's Holiday Report also said the pound's dropping value, another Brexit casualty, has sent many Brits outside the eurozone.

"Turkey has risen up the ranks to become Thomas Cook's second most popular destination overall for Brits and a quarter of all Thomas Cook Airlines' bookings are to this Eastern Med hotspot," the report said.

However, the report went on to say that this wasn't a new phenomenon.

"Turkey has been rising back up the ranks of the destination league table for the last few years."

This year, it's reached a new peak, it said, with 27 percent more bookings than last year.

Turkey's value for money has also attracted Brits.

"Aside from its attractiveness for being outside the EU, Turkey is a 2019 tourism hotspot thanks to the great value for money offered by its five-star resorts."

Thomas Cook CEO Peter Fankhauser said Turkey breaks were a safe option for money savers.

"For those who have booked, it's non-EU countries such as Turkey and Tunisia which are proving popular, along with all-inclusive deals as customers 'lock in' costs for food and drink for peace of mind," he said.

Due to the pound's volatility, tourists are locking in prices now, buying all-inclusive holidays to ensure their holiday is immune to any further fluctuations. 

Last year, Turkey welcomed almost 40 million foreign visitors, a 22 percent increase over 2017, figures from the Culture and Tourism Ministry show.


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