Uncle Sam’s Christmas Gift from the UK: Holidaymakers

November 5, 2018

Since the last presidential election, one major segment of the economy has noticeably failed to keep up with global growth trends, Travel & Tourism. However, this Christmas, UK holidaymakers look likely to reverse a trend of declining interest in visiting the USA.

In the period since the current President took the office (Feb 2017 to Sep 2018), the number of international flight arrivals in the USA decreased by 1.5%, whereas the global average was an increase of 4.0%. Looking at a more recent period, the first three quarters of this year, international arrivals in the USA decreased by 1.0%; while the global average was an increase of 2.7%. However, the USA can expect a Christmas present from Britain, as UK Yuletide vacations in US cities seem set to surge.

Research released today, in to long-haul holiday plans, undertaken by ForwardKeys for the World Travel Market London, reveals that some destinations are Christmas crackers for the Brits – and the USA is one of them. Current bookings to Miami (+39.6%), Orlando (+14.3%) and New York (+2.9%) are well ahead of their 2017 levels.

Brits looking to fly long-distance for an overseas holiday this Christmas are mainly heading to “hot Christmas” destinations. The top 5 most trending cities for Christmas are places where long bouts of warm sunshine can be enjoyed.

“This is particularly good news for the US, which has registered a 3.3% decrease in air arrivals from the UK for the January to September period.” Said Olivier Ponti, Vice President Insights at ForwardKeys, which analyses more than 17 million booking transactions a day. “We see two main booking patterns – one seeking a ‘white Christmas’ and the other a ‘hot Christmas’, and bookings to the US are looking good for both categories. New York is the most popular ‘white Christmas’ destination, and UK visitors are increasingly seduced by Orlando’s theme parks and Miami’s beaches for a ‘hot Christmas’.

Other popular destinations, outside of the US, also good for hot beach holidays to escape the dreary winter weather, are Mumbai, Cancun, and Dubai, for which bookings are currently ahead by 36.3%, 22.3% and 14.4% respectively.”

Top 5 most trending long-haul Christmas destinations for UK travellers*

CityCurrent booking situation vs. last year
Miami (US)+39.6%
Mumbai (IN)+36.3%
Cancun (MX)+22.3%
Dubai (AE)+14.4%
Orlando (US)+14.3%
*Cities receive more than 1.5% of current forward bookings from the UK to worldwide destinations. Bookings were made by 29th September 2018 for a departure during 21-27 December 2018, compared with 22-28 December 2017.

Paul Nelson, WTM Portfolio Press & PR Manager, said: “Heading to far-away climes for a festive break is an increasingly popular option for Brits. Indeed, an estimated 4.5 million jetted away over the Yuletide season last year. With just seven weeks to go until Christmas, it looks like being another bumper year for the travel industry as we fly off to sizzle in the sunshine.”

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