Demand for long-haul destinations has taken a dip as holidaymakers looks to save money by staying closer to home, according to a travel search website Kayak.
While searches for holidays to the southern coast of Spain have doubled this year, there has been a drop in demand for long-haul favourites New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and Asia.
Kayak's data was backed up by ABTA chairman John McEwan, who said long-haul destinations were struggling because of high prices.
Operators attending this week's annual Barclay's Travel Forum were confident demand for holidays would be at least as high this year as in 2011, despite the Olympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee, but the majority - 49% - agreed that Europe would see the greatest growth in traffic.
Kayak said its search data revealed that consumers were looking for the closest destinations that offered guaranteed sunshine, such as Tenerife, the Spanish costas, Turkey and Portugal.
EasyJet UK director Paul Simmons told the Travel Forum that its budget flights to the Western Mediterranean, Turkey and Egypt were selling well, but he admitted 2012 would be "a challenging year".
Low Cost Travel Group chief executive Paul Evans said operators had benefited from Thomas Cook taking capacity out of the market, but he said margins were under pressure.
Thursday, May 24, 2012