|Photo by Freeimages.com/Anna Trinchera|
Travelers headed to Europe this summer are seeking out off-the-beaten path destinations, and bookings are up overall.
“We started off with a real bang for bookings this summer,” Harry Dalgaard, president at Avanti Destinations, tells Travel Agent. “Then Brussels came along, and it slowed things down. A couple of weeks in the end of May and early June were slow, but now they’re back at full speed.”
Now, the number of inquiries from agents for UK products and options on FIT itineraries has doubled this past week in the wake of the Brexit vote, Dalgaard says. In addition to the three “I”s — Iceland, Ireland and Italy — travelers are also headed to Scandinavia, Scotland, and especially Sicily.
Bookings are up 4 percent overall in Europe, Dalgaard says, but in some destinations like Sicily the tour operator has seen gains as high as 40 percent.
“One of the most noticeable trends is that people are going out from the main capital cities,” Dalgaard says. “It’s more than Dublin, it’s Galway and Kinsale and all these other places.”
Many of these destinations are especially popular with Millennial travelers, particularly Iceland.
“Iceland is popular because there are a lot of soft adventure activities,” Dalgaard says. “Also in Scandinavia, Tromsø, and the fjords in western Norway, we’re seeing a lot of activity based programs that either we’re arranging or travelers are arranging by themselves — hiking, mountain biking, walking.”
“It’s a lot more active market,” Dalgaard says. “Overall, I’m pleased the FIT market has rebounded, but the actual traveler is a lot more experienced and a lot more adventuresome.”
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