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Brits To Visit Turkey, Egypt and Mexico in 2009

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A new report by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and ABTA, the Travel Association, reveals that Turkey, Egypt and Mexico will see a significant increase in British visitors in 2009 as bookings show that holidaymakers are favouring destinations that do not use the Euro.

The ‘FCO & ABTA 2009 Travel Trends Report’ shows the number of Brits going to Egypt has risen by 38% in the last year and visitors to Turkey have increased by 32%1. However the FCO is concerned that many British travellers are less familiar with these growing destinations and predict a significant rise in the number of Brits getting into trouble abroad.

The FCO is warning that Brits should be properly prepared for visiting these holiday hotspots by familiarising themselves with the laws and customs of their destination, checking FCO travel advice, taking out comprehensive travel insurance and taking necessary health precautions such as vaccinations before they head abroad.

ABTA and the FCO have collaborated for the first time to produce a report looking at predicted travel patterns over the next 12 months – and the impact that these trends will have on the welfare of British holidaymakers.

The report, which researched the travel industry and consumers, also reveals:

Holiday hotspots for 2009
* Mexico, Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Dubai, Dominican Republic, St Lucia, Cuba, Aruba, Galapagos Islands, Iceland, Poland, Croatia, Australia

Finances
* With many tour operators cutting their capacity next year, the one in five Brits2   who are planning on getting a last minute bargain this summer may be bitterly disappointed as such deals could be limited. The FCO advice is that even if you can’t book far in advance, don’t forget vital preparations such as  getting travel insurance 

* Not having enough spending money on holiday is a real concern for 41% of people3 who plan to go abroad in 2009.  Embassies abroad regularly deal with Brits who have run into financial problems and the FCO advises that travellers have access to emergency funds and don’t cut corners on travel insurance. The desire to know the total cost of a holiday in advance may also explain the increasing popularity of all-inclusive holidays which is set to continue

* Tour operators going bust concerns 35% of the population3 who plan to go abroad in 2009 – prompting the FCO to encourage Brits to ensure that their tour operator is ATOL registered

* 41% of respondents3 planning to go abroad in 2009 will reduce the number of holidays in the year ahead. There is evidence of a significant reduction in annual insurance policies being taken out in winter 2009 compared with the year before.  The FCO warns that Brits should remember to take out single trip insurance if they decide not to renew their annual policy
Other trends

* 13% of Brits are more likely to visit the States now Barack Obama has been elected (rising to 21% in the 18-34 age group) 2. With the historical significance of the election, lower fuel prices and the cost of living continuing to fall in the States, the strong dollar may not be enough to put British tourists off from visiting this country

* The number of Brits travelling abroad to get married is continuing to increase due to cheaper costs of holding a wedding abroad.  Long haul destinations such as Sri Lanka, the US and Kenya are becoming increasingly popular and new wedding hotspots include Costa Rica, The Cook Islands and Bali.  Brits are advised to visit the ‘overseas weddings and civil partnerships’ section of www.fco.gov.uk/travel for information on how to prepare for a safe and trouble-free wedding abroad

* The number of people going camping and caravanning has increased both in the UK and abroad and is expected to continue to rise in 2009.  The FCO deals with a huge number of Brits who run into problems when driving abroad and encourages people to research the driving laws of the country they are visiting in advance.  Tips and advice on driving and road safety abroad can be found at www.fco.gov.uk/drivingabroad

* People who don't want to give up their holidays, but want to take a cheaper option, will certainly be considering visiting friends and family this year.  The FCO warns that the ‘home from home’ mindset means many people visiting friends and family abroad often fail to take precautions such as travel insurance and vaccinations

Frances Tuke from ABTA said: “Over the past few years we have seen travellers becoming more adventurous and travelling further afield and this will continue in 2009 as non-eurozone countries will offer very good value for money - often at very high standards.

“But when travelling to these destinations, it is very important to check Foreign Office advice and ensure you make sure you see a health professional who will recommend what vaccinations you may need and what precautions you should take."

Julian Braithwaite, Director of Consular Services at the FCO, said: “Many of the changes that we’ll see taking place across the travel industry over the next year will have a direct impact on the welfare of British holidaymakers. 

“It is predicted that the proportion of Brits travelling to destinations outside Europe will increase.  Different countries have different customs and laws, and what’s acceptable in Europe may not be acceptable elsewhere.  If people don’t research their destinations before they go it could do more than spoil their holiday.  What’s normal in resorts in Spain or Greece are not necessarily going to be acceptable in Turkey or Egypt. It is really important that Brits familiarise themselves with the local laws and customs before they go.”

For all kinds of useful travel advice including country-specific information, visit www.fco.gov.uk/travel and click on your destination.

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