LONDON - , travel's direct demand engine, released its latest " ",based on travel intent data from 350 million traveler profiles and billions of travel intent signals, including search and bookings from online and mobile channels. Sojern's latest report examines search patterns to and from these European hubs, revealing this summer's emerging destinations, variations in booking behaviours, the impact of the current exchange rate and Brexit on tourism as well as which destinations are stepping out of the limelight.
The United States shows a downward trend, while Sri Lanka and Senegal are top emerging destinations
The United States has fallen for French travellers for the summer of 2017 so far, dropping from 2nd to 4th top destination.
British travellers follow a similar, albeit less extreme, trend. This could potentially be linked to the strong US Dollar or new political leadership.
The Cuban and Icelandic capitals were top trending destinations however both have notably fallen in travel intent from British and especially French travellers this summer with Havana dropping 22 places in popularity for French travellers. With the relaxation of American travel restrictions, and increased American interest in Cuba, it may be perceived as less exotic than it once was for the Europeans. Iceland has also been subject to a dramatic drop in travel intent this summer with Reykjavik plummeting at least 12 spots in popularity for both UK and French travellers.
On the other hand, we see Sri Lanka clearly coming through as a rising destination this summer moving up the ranks of popularity five places for French travellers and eight places for UK travellers. Senegal follows a similar trend skyrocketing up 11 places for French travellers.
The biggest rising destination cities year-over-year for British travellers are in Greece, Crete, Athens and Kerkyra Island. Dubrovnik, a city in Southern Croatia fronting the Adriatic Sea, is also a rising destination for UK travellers, moving up 11 places making it a new entrant in the top 20 cities. Dubrovnik's Old Town has been a popular filming location in recent years, with the Game of Thrones television series and the Star Wars: Episode VIII film both being shot here. The wave of what observers call "set-jetting" tourism motivated by TV or movies has exploded in recent years and the "Game of Thrones effect" on Croatian tourism and country's general economy is already enormous. In 2014, the research firm Tourism Competitive Intelligence found that 45 million international tourists chose a destination primarily because they saw a movie or television show filmed in that country.
Tunisia has long been an affordable holiday destination for British sun seekers, however terrorist attacks over the last couple of years have negatively impacted inbound tourism. Yet, it seems that a recovery may be under way. We see Tunis jump 12 places to number 23 in the most popular cities for French travellers this summer. Istanbul, another city plagued by terrorist incidents in recent years, also rebounds in travel intent rising 10 spots in the top destinations for French travellers this summer.
A year following the attacks in Paris, we see strong improvements and resilience with year-on-year travel intent up over 40% from December 2016. 2017 looks to be a fresh start with travel intent up 49% in January and arrivals showing a similar trend, up 34% - the highest it's been since the attacks of November 2015.
Even though European travellers favour shorter trips of 2-3 days to both France and the UK, a large percentage of them tend to plan these trips extremely far in advance. In fact, the share of long lead times is the highest it's been over the last three years with over a quarter of travellers planning 120 days or more in advance. Over half of European travellers plan trips to the UK and France over a month in advance of their planned departure date. Pakistani travellers are the latest planners for trips to the UK with a lead time of only 41 days.
These growing lead times could be a result of travellers today being some of the savviest consumers we have ever seen and Millennials in particular planning, researching and booking further in advance.