Saturday, December 05, 2009

MICE goes Mobile

Over the past two years I have become a Mobile junky. My iPhone became very important to me and I use it where ever I can.

Looking for a mobile conference guide solution, I found this interesting iPhone and Android application called ConferenceGuide.

ConferenceGuide is a full suite of tools aimed at improving the overall conference experience for organizers, speakers and attendees alike. It's based on a conference-agnostic platform accessible via several mobile native applications. There is an iPhone and an Android app that offer advanced online schedule and speaker information browsing.

Both of these applications are free, and with the next version, you will be able to unlock premium features for a small event-specific fee. Those premium packages will include the ability to browse content offline, Twitter integration, push notifications, a personal schedule builder, the ability to communicate with other attendees, and much more.

The organizer console will evolve too in the months to come, with a session planner, a speaker manager, a survey builder and more.

So watch out and stay tuned for news about this application.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Nightmare in Tourism Logistics

A Nightmare in Logistics, the Hajj pilgrimage which involves almost 3 million human beings congregating at Makkah, then moving on to Minah, Arafat, Muzdalifah and back to Mina, over a short 6 day period, is effectively managed by the Saudi Arabian Government and its designated administrative authorities, each year.

The logistics, administration and management of the annual pilgrimage of Hajj by the Saudi Arabian authorities and related public and private sector organizations is truly a nightmare beyond the wildest imagination of any operational exercise in the world. With the volume of pilgrims participating in the Hajj increasing by leaps and bounds each year the authorities have had to spruce up their act, re-define procedures, and come up with better control mechanisms and facilities to provide a smooth and successful process to enable a successful execution of the pilgrimage.
In 2008 Saudi missions abroad issued almost 2 million visas for pilgrims seeking to perform the pilgrimage from overseas. In addition the number of local pilgrims who travel to Makkah from all parts of the Kingdom usually amounts to another million, at least.

The majority of foreign pilgrims in 2008 — 1,645,135 — came by air, 216,532 by land and 30,550 by sea, according to Maj. Gen. Salim Al-Belaihed, Director General of the Passport Department.

About 1,000 foreign dignitaries including 720 from Europe, 200 from Asia and Australia and 61 from Arab countries also performed the Haj in 2008 and the numbers are expected to be similar this year too. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz also invited almost 12,000 prominent Muslim personalities from around the world to perform Haj as his guests over the past several years.

Read the full article here by Fazil Sameer from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

About the Hajj festivities

The main reason Muslims go to Makkah is to pray in the Holy Mosque. Often, they perform the Umrah, the lesser pilgrimage, while visiting the Holy Mosque. Once a year, the Hajj, the greater pilgrimmage, takes place in Makkah and nearby sites. During the Hajj, three million people worship in unison.

If a person performs the Umrah or the Hajj correctly, all his/her sins are forgiven.

Every adult, healthy, sane Muslim who has enough money to travel to Makkah and can make arrangements for the care of his/her dependents during the trip, must perform the Hajj once in a lifetime.

In 2009, the Hajj will begin today Wednesday, November 25.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

What is the 7th Annual MICE Europe Congress in Dubrovnik, organized by NASEBA?

I have come across this event called "7th Annual MICE Europe Congress in Dubrovnik".

Do you know about it? I didn't. So let's have a closer look:

Looking at the video, I got some interesting thoughts about this event.
Look at the video and check out the following:

After 0:27 (Coffee Break?), I count 15 people
After 1:37 (Exhibition?), I see the table number 29 but this table is already empty. So let's assume there were 29 exhibitors (but where is exhibitor No 29?)
After 1:43 (Dinner?), I count 10 tabels with a total of 18 people
After 3:06 (Exhibiton?), are there two people from the same company talking to each other? At least the name boards suggest this. It must have been a great trade show. (Maybe the lady behind the Name Kerim is not "Kerim"? Is Kerim a man's name?)
After 3:34 (Dinner reception?), I count approx. 30 people

And so on. Did you attend this event? What is your feedback?

I wonder why Event organizers don't do a proper marketing campaign... And start to embraze the entire industry because only if we work together we will become stronger.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Zürich Schlaflos, the other Travel guide to Zurich, Switzerland

The man drinks regularly. He smokes. He is a gourmet and art lover. A voyeuristic gambler with nostalgic tendency to glorification and a toilet fetish. And he is your faithful travel companion for Zurich.

Netcetera, a software company from Zurich, Switzerland, has created this unique podcast available on iTunes Store for your iPod or iPhone.

Two authors on behalf of the transporting enterprises Zurich (VBZ) did come up with the content. Philippe Amrein and Thomas Wyss gathered 60 marvelous stories about cool places along the 32 and 4 Bus lines for the new Podcast “Zurich sleepless” along Langstrasse and Niederdorf.

If you are going to Zurich (and speak German, or have a personal guide...) follow these bus lines and discover Zurich as you wouldn't imagine.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Travel history, part II

Bridgewater Canal: AD 1759-1761

In 1759 a young self-taught engineer, James Brindley, is invited to visit the duke of Bridgewater. The duke is interested in improving the market for the coal from a local mine which he owns. He believes his coal will find customers if he can get it more cheaply into Manchester. He wants Brindley to build him a canal with a series of locks to get barges down to the river Irwell, about three miles from the mine.

Brindley proposes a much bolder scheme, declared by some to be impossible but accepted by the duke. He will construct a more level canal, with less need for time-wasting locks. He will carry it on an aqudeuct over the Irwell on a straight line to the heart of Manchester, ten miles away.

On 17 July 1761 the first bargeload of coal is pulled along the completed canal. Brindley's aqueduct (replaced in 1894 by the present swing aqueduct) crosses the Irwell at Barton. The strange sight of a barge floating in a gutter high up in the air becomes one of the first great tourist attractions of the Industrial Revolution. The investment in this private canal rapidly pays off. The price of the duke's coal is halved in the Manchester market.

The Bridgewater canal is the first in Britain to run its entire length independently of any river. It is the start of the country's inland waterway systerm, for which Brindley himself will construct another 300 miles of canals.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Will this hotel ever been completed?

In 1987, the Government of South Korea did start with this tremendous project called Ryugyong. A hotel with 3000 rooms, 360'000 sqm space and 7 revolving restaurants in the heart of Pyongyang.

It supposed to open in 1989, but it never did.

But lately, a photo captured workers completing the windows and other bits and pieces of the facade. The Egyptian construction company Orascom is apparently working on it.

Do you know more about this hotel project? Please write comments...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Working in the Tourism Trade - Don't we have a trully unique job?

A sentimental note for once, but not just a simple one, no. It is a sentimental note with a call for attention, a call for inspiration and last but not least, a call for opening our eyes.

We all are travelling to some of the most amazing places on Earth, and it is a great priviledge (at least for me) to belong to those who have the chance to broaden their mind and view of life to more then just my next country.

As an inspiration, enjoy this beautiful video.

Monday, August 17, 2009

How to cook your own meal at the Park Plaza Hotel


Friday, August 14, 2009

Cool idea for a hotel bed, part II

Here comes another cool idea for a hotel bed:

The Floating Bed

Conventional furniture is in contact with the earth through gravity. Floating Bed overcomes this fundamental power and falls towards the sky. Four thin cables assure its motionless position and form the only contact with the ground.

Thanks to the smart use of permanent magnetic material Floating Bed can carry a load of 900 kilogram. With a floating distance of 40 cm. one can think of different functions such as a bed, sofa, Japanese dining table, display for products or as a base for a floating pavilion. The magnetic field on top of the Floating Bed is strongly reduced, so bank cards will not be erased.

Architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars (33) worked for six years with several specialists, under which Bakker Magnetics, on the development of Floating Bed. It is a project that only recently reached its technical realizability.

The shown object here can be seen as the captured form used by Stanley Kubrick in the 1968 movie '2001: A Space Odyssey'. The monolith, as Stanley Kubrick and science-fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke suggest, must have been made by other powers than those responsible for the usually circular planetary bodies and other more liberal forms, such as organisms. The rectangle as a metaphor for the existence of intelligent life.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009


Singita, South Africa's best

The Experience

Opulent décor decor and excellent service accompanied by some of the best game viewing in South Africa make Singita arguably the most exquisite game lodge in the country. Located both in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve as well as in a private concession within Kruger National Park, Singita offers five distinctive accommodation choices, each with a common lodge and an outcropping of guest suites. What sets Singita apart from scores of other safari lodges is not just dramatic décordecor, but an attention to detail that’s painstakingly maintained in the game experience itself. Rangers who oversee your game drives possess an astounding mental history of migrations and herds within the region, and will entertain you with firsthand tales from the bush as you make your way through the savannah.

The Rooms

Singita is composed of five unique lodges, each an entity unto itself, with a common area and 10- to 12 suites each. While each they all offers a similar experience and the same high quality of food and service, they differ by décor decor and mood. Ebony offers perhaps the most traditional, “Out of Africa–”-like experience; heavy four-poster beds, double-sided fireplaces, and massive teak decks with private plunge pools echo ancient Africa and a wildlife-rich bush experience. The white leather and linen of Boulders is not far off, offering a more starkly modern accommodation with a similar bush experience. Sweni— -- on the banks of a river— -- and the very contemporary Lebombo (with dramatic lofts set into a cliff of falling water) are for those seeking a more secluded setting with less active game drives, while Castleton is ideal for small gatherings like wedding parties or family reunions.

The Service

Rangers walk you around the property to ensure that stray wildlife doesn’t get too close; and staff here is happy to wait on you, but they don’t fawn over you. Rangers are top-notch; they’re well-versed in the habits of local wildlife and show real enthusiasm tracking animals.

The Highlights

Dine on in the privacy of your private deck, or join other guests on the common deck as you choose from a buffet of South African and international fare such as fresh fruit, green salad, ostrich fillets and bobotie (a sort of South African Shepherd’s shepherd’s Piepie). And you’ll never go thirsty: Singita claims the best bush cellar in Africa, with over more than 12,000 bottles buried in a rock beneath the lodge. Still, you come here to see game, and here you’re unlikely to see clusters of Land Rovers roaming the wilderness looking for animals. Drives are often very exciting, as you can drive off-road and at night, and it’s not uncommon to spot a black rhino or a large pride of lion. Better still, take a one-on-one guided bush walk and return for cocktails on the verandah, drinking a glass of chilled Cabernet as the sky’s glowing fireball slowly sinks below the green horizon.


I had simply three of my greatest days at Singita!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

No rationale for travel restrictions - WHO

1 May 2009 -- World Health Organisation (WHO) is not recommending travel restrictions related to the outbreak of the influenza A(H1N1) virus. Today, international travel moves rapidly, with large numbers of individuals visiting various parts of the world. Limiting travel and imposing travel restrictions would have very little effect on stopping the virus from spreading, but would be highly disruptive to the global community.

Influenza A(H1N1) has already been confirmed in many parts of the world. The focus now is on minimizing the impact of the virus through the rapid identification of cases and providing patients with appropriate medical care, rather than on stopping its spread internationally. Furthermore, although identifying the signs and symptoms of influenza in travellers can be an effective monitoring technique, it is not effective in reducing the spread of influenza as the virus can be transmitted from person to person before the onset of symptoms. Scientific research based on mathematical modelling indicates that restricting travel will be of limited or no benefit in stopping the spread of disease. Historical records of previous influenza pandemics, as well as experience with SARS, have validated this point.

Travellers can protect themselves and others by following simple recommendations related to travel aimed at preventing the spread of infection. Individuals who are ill should delay travel plans and returning travellers who fall ill should seek appropriate medical care. These recommendations are prudent measures which can limit the spread of many communicable diseases and not only influenza A(H1N1).

NBTA report highlights importance of travel management in down economy

The National Business Travel Association (NBTA) released a report highlighting the most recent impacts of the economic crisis on global business travel. In a March 2009 survey of 119 corporate travel managers, NBTA found that nearly 85 percent of respondent companies have decreased travel spend since October 2008, and more than 70 percent expected continued decreases through 2009. In response to cut backs, 53 percent of respondents report that new travel management initiatives have saved companies more than US$50,000 since October 2009.

According to the NBTA report, the top five travel management initiatives to cut costs are:

1. Overall Travel & Entertainment budget cuts
2. Encouraging or requiring less air travel
3. Sending fewer employees to conventions/conferences/trade shows
4. Emphasizing advance purchase of air tickets
5. Strengthening travel policy mandates, enforcement of travel policies

Kevin Maguire, CCTE, GLP, NBTA President & CEO, said, “In a time when corporations are suffering because of a down economy, traveling smarter becomes a top priority. This report shows that during a recession, an efficient travel management program is key to saving money while still keeping travelers on the road to help bolster revenue. Corporate travel managers are coming to the rescue when corporate cost heroes are needed most.”

The NBTA report reveals a confidence in travel management, as 63 percent of respondents feel secure in their current positions. While half of those respondents believe their companies value their positions more than ever in a cost cutting economy, nearly 20 percent have reported reduced travel staff in recent months.

Maguire commented, “The current value placed on travel managers is not surprising given the effective policy changes and savings companies are seeing. It is those companies that do eliminate and reduce travel staff that will risk losing more money in the long run.”

Survey respondents also indicated that both the economy and recent negative perception of corporate meetings and events have been major factors in reduced spend for meetings, conferences, incentives and client events despite the fact that 85 percent report offsite strategy meetings and leadership conferences as an important part of their companies’ business planning and talent-development process.

Maguire added, “The combination of cost-cutting measures due to the economy and perception-driven reductions is devastating the corporate travel and meetings industry. NBTA and other travel industry leaders have been fighting this negative perception of meetings for the very reason survey respondents indicate - meetings and conferences are vital to a company’s strategic planning process and revenue stream. These results only further justify spend on corporate events to not only boost profits, but also to boost the economy.”

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Global Hotel Prices Down by 12 percent

The average price of a hotel room around the world fell by 12 percent last year, according to the latest Hotel Price IndexTM. This fall in prices paid was driven by price drops across every continent.

Hotel prices in December 2008 were more than one tenth lower than they were the year before and room rates were just 1 percent above their level in January 2004, when the Hotel Price Index was first launched.

The HPITM tracks the real prices paid per hotel room rather than advertised rates. It is based on prices actually paid by customers for 68,000 hotels across 12,500 locations around the world. The HPI report issued today examines hotel prices for the period October to December 2008, compared to the same period the year before. The HPI tracks the real prices paid per room by® customers around the world using a weighted average based on the number of rooms sold in each of the markets in which operates.

Some of the notable findings about U.S. destinations included in this year’s report:

-- New York was the most expensive U.S. destination of those tracked in the global list, with prices averaging $255 during Q4 2008 – a fall of more than one-fifth (22 percent) compared to the same period in 2007.

-- Washington, D.C. saw a 3 percent increase in prices paid to $184 in Q4 2008 versus $179 in the same period in 2007. Demand for properties in the nation’s capital grew as travelers planned trips for the presidential inauguration.

-- Among the United States, New York was the most expensive destination, followed by Hawaii and Massachusetts. The least expensive states for travelers in Q4 2008 were Idaho, Nevada and South Dakota.

-- New York topped American travelers’ lists as the most popular domestic city destination, followed by Las Vegas, Orlando, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

-- For Americans venturing outside the country, Toronto was the most popular destination for U.S travelers, followed by London. Paris, Rome and Hong Kong also made the top 10 list of international favorites for American travelers.

-- For international travelers visiting the United States, New York, Las Vegas and Miami were the top destinations in Q4 2008.

Carl Sparks, general manager of, said, “While hotels faced a challenging environment in the fourth quarter, they rolled out the welcome mat to travelers like we have never seen before to fill rooms. Properties are continuing to offer compelling rates and added value options, so it continues to be an excellent time for people to plan trips and secure great deals.”


Friday, March 20, 2009

Cape Town

After Meetings Africa, I had the pleasure of going on the post conference trip to Cape town. The three days trip was organized by the Cape town Convention Bureau and the DMC was Kuoni DMC.

We did visit Table mountain, some great wine estates such as Asara and Simonsig, had a lovely Cape Malay cooking lesson with Cass Abrahams (loved it!) amongst many other great moments. What a beautiful place (if the weather is nice).

We had three great days with great weather, even better wine and food and some trully impressing moments all way long.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Meetings Africa

I've arrived yesterday morning in Johannesburg, after an excellen flight (in small seats...) with Swiss.

After 2 hours of waiting at the airport, we were brought to our hotel, The Radisson Johannesburg. The Hotel just opened last week, so many of my colleagues arriving after a long journey had to wait until their room was ready... (I was one of them).

I must admit, the guest rooms are really great. I have a standard room but the bed is one of the most confortable beds I've ever stayed in. The design of the room is very nice and practical (modern) as the target hotel guests are Business travellers.

This morning was the opening of the Conference. The key speaker was allright, but honestly only some nice words and pictures are not enough. But right after this keynote speaker came the absolut highlight (and not only for me):

Lebo (her full name is Lebogang Mashile). Above you see her picture.

Wow, her presentation was one of the most touching ones I have ever seen! I simplz can't describe the way she not only told us one of her poems, but also how she lived it at the very moment and celebrated every single word. Check out her poems.

The exhibition was a mixture nice surprises and boredom. As it was my first time in Africa I must admit, some ideas for Incentives and Meetings are extraordinary. And some other exhibitors still don't understand how to sell. In response to my question "Why should my client select your Hotel/DMC?" I've received astonishing answers, many of them are just to forget and a wast of time.

But over all, it was a great and instructive event where I had the chance to meet some very special people!

Thank you Meetings Africa, I hope to be back!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Cool idea for a hotel bed

Browsing through the internet, I found a cool website with great ideas for Hotel beds.

Designed by the studio of invention Décadrages and marketed under the brand name BedUP, the bed that falls from the ceiling is an innovation that will save 4 m² in your hotel room, or for someone who lives in a small space ..

4 m² of space is pure gold. By day, the bed is stored on the ceiling, the under-surface becomes ceiling with the possibility of integrating lighting. At night, the bed can come down in the manner of an elevator and stops at the height previously requested, thus avoiding moving furniture that would have been placed underneath it. Now besides being functional, this bed has a clean design that is discreet and elegant.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Business tourism one of best drivers of destination brand building, says international expert

Teamwork at a destination is often what makes or breaks an international conference. While a destination might have a state-of-the-art conference venue or an enormously modern airport to receive delegates from across the world, it is the spirit in which a destination’s tourism industry works together to ensure that a conference runs smoothly that the event is often evaluated on.

This was one of the key messages at the recent Back2Business event, celebrating the beginning of Business Tourism Year in Cape Town and the Western Cape. More than 300 professional conference organisers, venue and hotel operators, destination management companies, government representatives and others in tourism gathered at NH The Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West last week for this special occasion.

Giving a global picture of the business tourism industry and its challenges, guest speaker Steen Jakobsen, Director of the Copenhagen Convention Bureau and Member of ICCA (International Congress and Convention Association) Board of Directors, said that “besides creating jobs and generating tourism income, meetings and conferences are one of the best drivers of brand building - provided that it is supported by a combined effort.”

A destination’s convention bureau plays a critical role in facilitating the hosting of a conference - from selling the destination at international shows, arranging site visits and familiarisation trips for interested parties, to liaising between conference planners, and local government and industry role-players; compiling bids; and helping ensure that the maximum number of delegates attend a secured conference. “A convention bureau needs to be a destination expert; a one-stop-shop for conference planners; and provide a networking platform for local industry role-players, similar to Back2Business,” said Jakobsen.

Read more here

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

New extra charges for your next flight

Enjoy it!

Friday, January 23, 2009

USA ranked in top 5 preffered destinations in the world by European buyers

A major European Meetings Industry report presented at EIBTM 2008, by The Right Solution MD Sally Greenhill revealed that the ‘Mood of the Market’ was optimistic and upbeat, yet acknowledges there is a challenging year ahead for the sector. The research, conducted by The Right Solution in conjunction with Reed Travel Exhibitions, organisers of EIBTM, and AIBTM, sister shows across the globe, surveyed 700 meetings industry professionals, including association and corporate in-house organisers and PCO’s, from a range of countries across Europe.

When asked which country in the Americas they held events in the past 12 months, The results showed that 40% of respondents organised events and meetings in the USA, with the next most popular being Brazil with 15%. The USA came in 5th as the most popular destination chosen by 40.3% of the respondents for events with 284 out of 700 selecting the country. It was the leading destination outside of Europe with France, Italy, Spain and Germany above.

The results showed that 64% say the economic climate and pressure to reduce costs are the key factor of influence for next year. However, 25 per cent of respondents were set to organise more international events in 2009, 9 per cent to organise more national events and 35 per cent set to keep events about the same as last year. In terms of the number of delegates attending events in 2008, the research showed that they had either remained the same or increased over 2007.

When it came to budgets, 39% already see a decrease in budgets for next year yet a total of 61% of respondents anticipated their budgets to either increase 20% or remain the same (41%).

Despite the economic issues taking precedence 86% stated that CSR and environmental policies would be extremely or somewhat influential over the next ten years, with nearly half (46%) believing that their CSR policies impacted on all aspects of event organisation

Although location was the top factor influencing venue selection, followed by price/value for money, quality of service is the next most important factor highlighting the importance of retaining service levels even when costs are under pressure.

The research showed that respondents rated the content of an event and the cost of attending a meeting as less important than the appeal of the destination and the venue. These results may reflect the many different types of events that respondents were responsible for, which include incentives. Celebrity speakers were considered far less important to delegates, perhaps down to the potential cost of engaging them.

Commenting on the ‘Mood of the Market’ research Paul Kennedy, MBE, Group Exhibition Director, Meetings and Incentives Events, Reed Travel Exhibitions said: “There is no doubt that 2009 will be a challenging year for everyone in the meetings industry. This report provides a realistic snapshot of how meetings and event organisers are feeling about the industry and the extent to which events and business levels may be affected in the future.

“The mood is one of optimism despite concerns, reflecting the astonishingly upbeat mood of EIBTM (December 08) which itself broke all records with 50,000 pre-scheduled appointments taking place over the 3 days. It will be vital for events to offer a valuable and worthwhile use of time, which is also enjoyable and stimulating, for all those attending, yet perceived as neither extravagant nor too exclusive in its appeal. It will require careful consideration of all options for destinations, travel methods, venues, content and speakers to achieve an appropriate balance.

“Seeing how the USA has performed for the European meetings industry in particular shows what value for money, service and choice the country provides even if the $ has be strong compared to the Euro and UK sterling. We are launching AIBTM in Baltimore 2010 at a time when the USA is now once again even more competitive and attractive as a destination. Equally this research shows there is still potential to grow the USA as both a domestic and international destination for the meetings industry and AIBTM will provide that platform”.

Source: Travel Daily News

Monday, January 12, 2009

Consumers reject Eurozone and USA in favour of cheaper destinations and UK holidays

Hitwise, the leading online competitive intelligence service and an Experian company, reveals that UK Internet searches for flights have fallen by 42% over the last 12 months. January is a key month for the travel industry, as UK consumers' thoughts turn from Christmas shopping to booking their summer holidays, but the economic downturn means that consumers are being more cautious when booking flights abroad this year. As a result of the weak pound, people are switching from holidays in the Eurozone or USA and considering cheaper destinations such as Turkey and North Africa, or considering taking their holidays at home.

UK Internet searches for flights increased by 58% between the weeks ending 27/12/08 and 03/01/09, but they were down by 42.4% when compared with the equivalent post-Christmas week last year (i.e. the week ending 05/01/08). Flights to the USA experienced the biggest annual fall in searches of 52.2%. Searches for flights to countries that use the Euro fell by 44.8%, while searches for flights to the UK and the Rest of the World also fell, but at a smaller rate.

Change in searches for flights to different geographical areas between 05/01/08 and 03/01/09:
USA: -52.2%
Global average: -42.4%
Rest of the world: -34.4%
UK Domestic: -32.7%

"It looks like the weak pound is putting people off flying to the Eurozone and the USA, and they are looking at destinations with more favourable exchange rates instead," commented Robin Goad, Hitwise's Director of Research. There have been big falls in searches for flights to all of the most popular European holiday destinations over the last 12 months: France is down 45.4%, Spain 42.8%, Portugal 41.7% and Italy 41.2%.

Change in UK Internet searches for flights to popular destinations between 05/01/08 and 03/01/09:
Turkey: -24.6%
Dubai: -27.1%
Thailand: -32.2%
Australia: -32.8%
South Africa: -32.9%
Caribbean: -34.6%
Italy: -41.2%
Portugal: -41.7%
Spain: -42.8%
France: -45.4%

Of all the major holiday locations favoured by Britons, Turkey experienced the smallest decline in flight searches over the last 12 months - a fall of 24.6% compared with an average of 42.4% for all destinations. At the same time, Turkey overtook Canada and Thailand to become the second most popular non-Euro/Dollar destination for British tourists.

Robin Goad commented: "UK Internet users are becoming more sophisticated in the way they search for Turkish holidays. Increasingly they are searching for particular towns and resorts, such as Dalaman, Bodrum and Antalya, rather than generic terms like 'flights to Turkey' or 'Turkish holidays'. This is similar to the way people search for Spanish or Portuguese holidays, and illustrates how Turkey has become a mainstream destination for British holiday makers".

Australia remains the most popular non-Euro/Dollar destination for British tourists, accounting for almost a quarter of all searches for flights to destinations outside of the UK, USA and Eurozone. Searches for flights to Australia have fallen by 32.85% over the last 12 months, but this is at a lower rate than for many other destinations. The recent release of the Nicole Kidman film "Australia" has had an impact on this behaviour. For the week ending 05/01/08 the Dubai based airline Emirates, which is currently running a joint marketing campaign with Tourism Australia, ranked 11th in Hitwise's Commercial Airlines category, up from 17th during the equivalent week in 2008.

Only five destinations have experienced an increase in flight searches over the last 12 months: Norway, Denmark, Brazil, Morocco and Cuba. Robin Goad commented: "The two areas that have benefitted most from the Pound falling against the Euro are Scandinavia and the cheaper sunshine destinations. The Scandinavian countries may still be expensive by global standards, but in relative terms their cost for UK consumers has fallen compared with other European countries. In terms of warmer destinations, the weak pound is encouraging people to look further afield for bargains, with places such as Brazil, Morocco, Cuba, Kenya and India all moving up the rankings over the last 12 months.

Destinations with the biggest increase (or smallest decrease) in flight searches between 05/01/08 and 03/01/09:

1. Norway +30.9%
2. Denmark +20.3%
3. Brazil +19.5%
4. Morocco +2.1%
5. Cuba +1.2%
6. Kenya -7.8%
7. India -12.7%
8. China -12.8%
9. Hungary -13.7%
10. Singapore -14.6%

Source: Travel Daily News.