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Spain Still Top for Holiday Travel for Holidaymakers

Holiday to Valencia, Spain

Spain continues to be the top pick for British holidaymakers, but the French appeal among Spanish travellers has seen a decline, as per sources in the travel industry. Valencia, on the other hand, has emerged as the fastest-growing tourist destination in Spain. The port and its surrounding area have been redeveloped to offer visitors an array of attractions, and one of the main highlights is the new marina. It boasts a publicly accessible promenade that features restaurants, bars, and a raised walkway extending 800 meters into the sea.

Valencia's cultural offering is equally impressive, with its modern architecture and historic landmarks like the Central Market and the Cathedral. The city also hosts the world-renowned Fallas festival, where huge sculptures are erected throughout the city before being burnt in a spectacular display of pyrotechnics. Overall, Valencia's blend of modern amenities and rich cultural heritage makes it a must-visit destination for travellers seeking to explore Spain's diverse offerings.

New additions to Valencia

Valencia Airport underwent expansion recently, and while there were plans to build a new stadium for Valencia Football Club, the project has not yet been completed. The stadium is expected to be named Nou Mestalla, and its seating capacity is projected to be around 61,500. Additionally, there are plans to create an art and science park, but its construction status is unknown to me. It's worth noting that the Spanish people still consider Valencia to be one of the best places to live, which speaks volumes about the city's quality of life.

Travel to Spain is within the comfort zone for many Brits

ABTA (Association of British Travel Agents) says many Brits as “now very familiar with and comfortable in Spain,” with around half a million of us owning property there.

“Travelling there and around is easy and inexpensive. No-frills airline routes are spread across the whole of Spain, the Spanish train system is among the best and least expensive in Europe, the bus system is regular and reliable and taxis are plentiful and cheap.”

Spain city breaks

While many Brits still enjoy sunny beaches, a growing number are opting for city breaks in Valencia, Seville, Granada, and Bilbao.

Balearic Islands

The Balearic islands of Mallorca, Ibiza and Menorca are the most popular areas of Spain.


Other popular destinations include Puerto Banus, Marbella though not the once thriving ‘place to be' due to overpricing, and less emphasis on entertainment.

What about France?

According to ABTA, Britain's fondness for France is currently experiencing a slight decline, with a drop in visitor figures. However, the British are still the most frequent tourists, accounting for one in five visitors to various locations in France. Despite this, ABTA is optimistic that the country's cuisine, wine, weather, and proximity will always hold a special place in our hearts.

For those who want to travel further afield, China and Singapore are top destinations in 2023, particularly for those interested in Formula 1.

Ashford International: Eurostar

Eurostar passengers can now enjoy shorter journeys between London and Paris due to the St Pancras International terminal that is connected by a high-speed rail line. This has reduced the travel time by 20 minutes. However, there is some controversy surrounding the Ashford International Eurostar line, which has been closed since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. There seem to be continuous excuses for this closure, which have adversely affected travellers and local businesses.

Chateaux breaks in France

Chateau and villa breaks, including bed-and-breakfast and weekly lets, are selling well in France. Themed activities such as skiing, golf, wine tours, city breaks, and cycling are also popular.

The US, a popular tourist destination

The USA also remains a popular destination. With every £ now being worth around $2, there hasn’t been a better time to cross the pond since the early 80s. ABTA says its members are reporting that demand for boutique hotels and experience-led holidays is rising.  Though as recently as August and September economic insecurity at home and abroad has made holidaymakers warier of travelling outside of the EU.

Cowboy holidays, really?

Cowboy holidays have become more popular lately, perhaps due to the success of the movie Brokeback Mountain. Florida is still a top choice for holidaymakers. The hottest destinations this year are Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco, with New York remaining a popular shopping destination.

Italy is Still a Favourite British Holiday Destination

Italy is the fourth most popular destination for holidaying Brits and Rome is the number one city in that country.


Venice, says ABTA, “has been saved from the waters by the tourist Euro, but is currently in danger of being a shell of its former self, existing only for tourists.”

Sicily and Sardinia

Sicily and Sardinia are riding the crest of a tourist wave, as a result of more direct flights and “great beaches.” Sicily has the added advantage of being home to Mt Etna – an active volcano renowned for its not infrequent fiery outbursts.

Greece and Cyprus, the jewels of the Mediterranean

According to official statistics for 2005, Greece has slipped from being the fourth to the fifth most popular destination for British holidaymakers. However, ABTA pointed out that the numbers have stabilized rather than fallen, and the change in rank is probably due to the lack of coverage by no-frills airlines that fly only to Athens.

“Numbers have stabilised, rather than fallen,” continued ABTA, “the change in ‘rank’ probably being due to the lack of coverage by no-frills airlines which fly only to Athens.

Greece has much to offer, and tour operators have been revamping holiday itineraries to include adventure travel, spa breaks, island hopping to one of the many Greek Islands including Paros, and Santorini, city breaks, and wedding packages to prove that there is a great deal more to Greece than just the beach.

On the other hand, Cyprus has become quite popular with British tourists, thanks to the rebuilding of Larnaca airport, which makes it much easier for them to book flights directly to Cyprus and then travel to Paphos or Nicosia.

Package Holidays are Still Alive!

The package holiday market is still thriving, despite the increasing trend of people opting to plan their trips by conducting research online and booking flights, accommodations, and car rentals from different providers.

According to ABTA, around 61% of holidaymakers are taking package holidays, which is considerably more than the number sold ten years ago. However, city breaks and are now the preferred option for travelling for individuals and couples, while families are still opting for all-inclusive holiday deals, mainly due to economic factors.

While package holidays are still popular, customers are increasingly looking for more flexibility and control over their travel arrangements. However, it is important for them to be aware of the potential pitfalls of booking everything separately online and to take steps to protect themselves.

Exercise caution when booking a package holiday

Although package holidays to European destinations continue to be a popular choice among travellers, it is worth noting that in 2008, the UK's third-largest package holiday group, XL Leisure Group, went out of business during the holiday season. This resulted in thousands of British holidaymakers being stranded at airports around the world. The company's collapse was mainly due to the world's economic instability and the rise in fuel prices, which caused airlines such as Alitalia to suffer significant losses from fuel pricing and strikes. As the current economic climate is in decline due to inflation, the war in Ukraine, and other economic and political factors, it would be best to take the right precautions by doing your research and ensuring you're covered for loss if something goes wrong.

Holidaymakers are cautious when booking a vacation

The travel industry has been greatly affected by Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to uncertainty for travellers. With safety and flexibility becoming top priorities, passengers are more cautious when making travel plans. A trend towards personalised travel plans may emerge, even if it means paying a higher price. Spain and other European destinations are expected to remain popular among British travellers due to their accessibility. It is important to remain vigilant and adaptable during these unprecedented times and be prepared to adjust to the constantly changing nature of the travel industry.


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