Brexit causes 50% increase in long-haul flights

New insights released today by online travel company eDreams ODIGEO has revealed that UK travellers are heading further afield since the EU Referendum, with the company’s data showing a 50% increase in long-haul passenger volumes.

eDreams ODIGEO’s research and insights team have analysed travel industry data to identify trends since the EU Referendum, aka Brexit. It reveals a positive picture for UK outbound travel, with passenger numbers to all destinations up 6%, buoyed by an increase in passengers travelling to long-haul destinations, including the Americas (+56%) and Asia (+50%).

Asia now boasts seven out of the top 10 global countries for UK traveller growth since the EU Referendum vote. Singapore has rocketed in popularity with Brits, seeing a 232% increase in passengers, in line with a record-breaking year in 2017 for passenger volumes at the city’s Changi Airport. Other Asian destinations which saw considerable growth during the period include Manila (+65%), Dubai (+67%), and Istanbul (+95%).

Singapore's Changi Airport
Singapore’s Changi Airport

During the same period, the US has risen four places to become the fifth most popular destination for British travellers. Los Angeles led the list of cities for highest passenger growth with a 178% rise in visiting Brits, while Boston (+115%) and Orlando (+50%) also ranked in the top 10 for growth.

The trend is linked to the recent rise of low-cost airlines offering long-haul flights, such as Norwegian Air, which launched 20 new transatlantic and Asian routes between June–September 2017.

Spending habits

While long-haul destinations are offering Brits better value for money, consumers are still looking to spend on their holidays. To explore attitudes towards travelling among Brits, eDreams ODIGEO commissioned a YouGov survey of over 1,600 people to understand how the EU Referendum influenced their views. It revealed that:

  • 72% of travellers say they will not cut back on spending this year
  • 10% of people are prioritising their getaways by saving in other areas such as eating out and spending on clothes
  • A quarter (25%) of people said they have done at least one thing to save money in relation to holidays or breaks since the EU Referendum
  • Over one in 10 (14%) Londoners have travelled to cheaper destinations for holiday breaks since the EU Referendum – more than double the national average

The survey also suggests the growth trends towards Asian and American destinations could be set to continue, thanks mainly to young travellers looking to explore long-haul destinations for the first time. Around one in 10 (13%) people aged 16-24 are currently making plans to visit Asia for the first time, whilst 15% are planning an inaugural trip to the US.

“Broadening of holiday horizons”

Robert McNamara, head of UK and group external affairs at eDreams ODIGEO, said: “The pound’s fall in value against the Euro, combined with an increase in low-cost long-haul flights, has pushed up UK demand for long-haul travel since the EU referendum in 2016.

“This broadening of holiday horizons is encouraging for the travel industry. Time abroad remains precious and a top priority – with most Brits intending to keep holiday spending the same, even if it means cutting back on other areas.

“Looking forward, our most recent data suggest that the growth in long-haul travel amongst UK travellers is set to continue. Although the destinations may change, people still want to travel. With eDreams ODIGEO, travellers are able to find the best possible combination of flights based on value and flexibility.”

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