Welcome to our official TripAdvisor UK blog. This is where we aim to share our thoughts, quirky updates, new research and anything else we hope you will find useful and interesting.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Air Passenger Duty tax (APD) awareness gains momentum amongst general public

TripAdvisor poll reveals British travellers are increasingly informed on APD as key industry figures rally against it

APD has long been a hotly-debated and well-known issue within the travel industry, but despite the cost implications for the passenger, the average traveller seemingly knew little about it. New TripAdvisor research indicates this may now be changing. 

In a poll carried out by TripAdvisor in November 2010, only one-third (33%) of respondents claimed to know what APD was and how it worked, while the same number claimed to never have heard of it.*

One year later, TripAdvisor has repeated the poll and found that the number of travellers well-informed on APD has increased by 48%. Poll results from December 2011 show that half (49%) of travellers claim to now know what APD is and how it works, while the number of travellers who have never heard of APD has shrunk to 22%.

“Despite its financial impact on the traveller, the controversy around APD has largely been limited to those within the travel industry,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson.  “With the Treasury’s recent decision to retain the APD structure, concerns over the economy and particularly the airline industry’s strong and well-publicised stance on the tax, it seems travellers are now paying attention to the potential impact APD could have on their holiday cost.”

The treasury announced on 6 December that it would retain the current four-band APD structure.

*Poll carried out on 1,632 travellers on TripAdvisor.co.uk in November 2010
**Poll carried out on 1,677 travellers on TripAdvisor.co.uk in from 5 - 13 December 2011

Friday, 9 December 2011

UK dominates Europe's 'Fastest Growing Destinations' list

TripAdvisor reveals the European destinations sparking greatest rises in tourism interest in 2011; Ilford takes top spot

TripAdvisor has revealed the destinations that saw the biggest increase in traveller interest based on traffic uplift on TripAdvisor over the past year, with British destinations seeing a significant soar in interest.  The UK laid claim to eight of the ten destinations in the list, including the top finisher, Ilford.

The Olympics are likely a key factor in this year's fastest-growing destinations.  Ilford is just a nine-minute train ride from the Olympic Park in Stratford, while third-place finisher Trafford will host 9 Olympic football matches at its Old Trafford Stadium.  Seventh-place finisher, Salford, neighbours Trafford, while Hounslow's tenth-place finish could potentially be attributed to its proximity to Heathrow Airport, which is expecting its busiest time ever thanks to the Olympics. 

“These destinations may not all be most obvious tourist hotspots, but for one reason or another they’ve sparked rapidly rising traveller attention this year,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson. “For the British destinations, and especially Ilford, it’s encouraging news – and it’s likely we can attribute much of this spike in traffic to increased interest generally in the UK as excitement builds around next year’s Olympics.”

Ilford in East London tops the European list, followed by Valras-Plage in France, with the UK’s Trafford in third place. Other UK destinations in the list include Tamworth, Brandon, Salford, Warrington, Warminster and Hounslow in fourth, fifth, seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth places respectively. 

Europe’s top ten fasting growing destinations for 2011 are as follows*:

1.    Ilford, Essex – UK
2.    Valras-Plage – France
3.    Trafford, Greater Manchester – UK
4.    Tamworth, Staffordshire – UK
5.    Brandon, Suffolk – UK
6.    Yalta – Ukraine
7.    Salford, Greater Manchester – UK
8.    Warrington, Cheshire – UK
9.    Warminster, Wiltshire – UK
10. Hounslow, Middlesex – UK

For more information on these destinations, visit www.TripAdvisor.co.uk

* List is based on the biggest increase in page views for search traffic year-on-year, across TripAdvisor branded sites globally, comparing, 1st Jan – 31st Oct 2010 versus the same dates in 2011

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Bah Humbug! Brits dream of eschewing Christmas for a holiday

TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel site, reveals many Brits are lacking that festive feeling.  A brand new poll of over 1,500 travellers showed an astounding 80% of respondents admit they have been tempted to escape Christmas altogether and blow their Christmas budget on a holiday instead.*

“Between gift shopping, the cold weather, juggling numerous Christmas parties and hosting friends and family, the Christmas period can be an incredibly stressful time of year,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson.  “Four out of five Brits evidently find it so stressful that they dream of using their Christmas budget to escape on holiday, rather than celebrate in a more traditional way.”

It appears those looking to escape Christmas are also keen to escape the recent chilly and snowy weather – the most popular destinations on TripAdvisor.co.uk in the last 30 days** are predominantly warm and sunny:

1.    Canary Islands, Spain
2.    Red Sea and Sinai, Egypt
3.    New York, USA
4.    Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
5.    Ile-de-France, France
6.    Florida, USA
7.    Balearic Islands, Spain
8.    Agean Coast, Turkey
9.    Andalusia, Spain
10.Catalonia, Spain

For more information on these destinations, visit www.TripAdvisor.co.uk

*Poll carried out on 1,588 travellers from 29 November-5 December 2011
**Most viewed destinations on TripAdvisor.co.uk in the last 30 days according to page views

Friday, 2 December 2011

Brits say the Amazon is the most wonderful ‘Wonder’

Brits say the Amazon is the most wonderful ‘Wonder’

TripAdvisor, the world’s largest travel website can exclusively reveal what new natural wonders of the world British travellers truly think are wonderful and those which, perhaps, they do not.

The new ‘7 Wonders of Nature’ list has been in the works for four years.  The provisional list was released earlier this month, with the final list set to be announced early next year.  According to TripAdvisor’s poll, the Amazon can be relatively sure of its spot, while travellers are less keen on Jeji Island in South Korea.

The below, in order, are the wonders Brits would most like to see on the list:
  1. The Amazon Rainforest - South America 
  2. Iguazu Falls - Argentina and Brazil 
  3. Halong Bay - Vietnam
  4. Table Mountain - South Africa
  5. Komodo – Indonesia and Puerto Princesa Subterranean River - Philippines - Tied as above 
  6. Jeju Island - South Korea

“It’s not surprising to see the Amazon and Iguazu Falls top the list for Brits – they’re both renowned for their outstanding natural beauty and, as our forums show, are destinations Brits aspire to see,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson.  “That said, every destination on this list exceptionally picturesque and deserving of its spot on the provisional list.”

For more information on these destinations, visit www.TripAdvisor.co.uk

*Poll carried out on 1,995 respondents on TripAdvisor.co.uk from 18th-28th November 2011

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

TripAdvisor Brings Its Free Mobile City Guides to the iPhone

Last month, TripAdvisor launched its free Mobile City Guide apps for the Android for 20 popular world cities. Today, we’re excited to announce that we’re bringing this same destination content to the iPhone with our Mobile City Guide app in the Apple App Store.

The new app, with downloadable information for 20 popular world cities, offers you quick smartphone access to detailed destination content, including traveller reviews and opinions on hotels, restaurants and attractions, as well as interactive walking tours and suggested itineraries. Information from the app is available even when you’re offline, making it especially useful when you’re travelling abroad, since you can download the app before you go and avoid expensive roaming charges.

The Mobile City Guide app is automatically synced with the freshest TripAdvisor content available so you can access the latest traveller reviews and opinions while on the go.  Additionally, each of the Mobile City Guides offers walking tours and insider tips that can be viewed on the app without a data connection, including in-depth information on neighbourhoods, history, culture, architecture, weather and transportation.

TripAdvisor Mobile City Guides are available through the app for the following destinations: Amsterdam, Barcelona, Beijing, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Florence, Hong Kong, Hawaii, Las Vegas, London, Los Angeles, New York City, Orlando, Paris, Rome, San Francisco, Sydney, Tokyo, and Washington D.C.

The TripAdvisor Mobile City Guide app is available for free in the Apple App Store, and is also available as a standalone app for each city in the Android Market. More information about the TripAdvisor Mobile City Guides can be found at www.tripadvisor.com/CityGuide.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Traveller interest in Japan hits highest levels for 2011

TripAdvisor research paints positive picture for Japan’s inbound tourism

Following reports this week of economic growth for Japan after the devastating earthquake and tsunami earlier this year, there’s more good news for the country: tourist interest in Japan is at its highest levels so far this year, according to TripAdvisor research*.

Searches for Japan on TripAdvisor have been on the rise since hitting a low in May. In October, Japan searches hit their highest level of the year - and have recovered to the same level as they were at this time in 2010.**

A recent TripAdvisor survey also revealed that the vast majority of British travellers see no issue now in visiting to Japan – 80% of respondents said they would feel safe travelling to the country.***

“Japan is a beautiful country with plenty to offer the discerning traveller,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson.  “We’re happy to see that after such a tough time, tourism interest in the country has recovered and we hope that many travellers are currently planning their trips to Japan.”

*Based on worldwide TripAdvisor traffic figures
**Year-on-year comparisons (October 2010 v October 2011) show Japan’s TripAdvisor pages saw the same traffic levels in both time periods
***Survey carried out on 1,425 respondents in the UK in October 2011

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Brits still plan to spend on 2012 travel despite economic woes

A quarter of Brits will increase their holiday spend in 2012*

TripAdvisor today reveals the results of its 2012 Travel Trends Survey.  While the troubled economy is the most significant concern for Britons planning their 2012 holidays, travel budgets look set to remain healthy and tourism generally will be buoyant with two thirds (66%) of Brits planning to take between two and four leisure trips in 2012.

Healthy budgets despite worry
Although worried about the economy, Brits are refusing to sacrifice their 2012 holidays and are spending accordingly, even if that means booking on credit.
-A quarter (25%) of Brits plan to spend more in 2012 on travel than they did in 2011. Only 16% plan to spend less, while 59% intend to spend about the same
-Brits will do what it takes to have their holidays – one-third (32%) of respondents admit they won’t pay for their 2012 holiday up front, with one-fifth (21%) taking over two months to pay their holiday bill
-The most common 2012 holiday budget for Brits is between £2K and £4K, which is the expected spend for 29% of Brits in the coming year
-An extravagant 17% of Brits are clearly unconcerned about the economic situation as they plan to spend £8K or more on leisure travel in 2012

Economic anxiety overtakes volcanic concerns
Ash cloud is out, economy is in: concern over the state of the economy is the biggest worry for Brits in their 2012 travel planning, replacing last year’s top concern of volcanic ash.
-One-third (33%) said the economy is their biggest concern in travel planning, while despite trouble in Europe, only 27% of Europeans feel the same way
-The following factors, in order, are most likely to affect travel planning for Brits in 2012:
1.    The current economic climate
2.    Terrorism
3.    Potential strikes/industrial action
4.    Air Passenger Duty (APD) tax
5.    Travel firms collapsing 
-Over one-third of Brits (36%) are now more likely to buy holiday insurance as a result of uncertainty in the industry last year

Olympics Has Little Impact on Travel Plans
With beautiful beaches, historic cities and stunning countryside on their doorstep, Brits are this year planning to take advantage of what’s within their borders:
-40% of Brits intend to take a ‘Staycation’ in 2012, taking time off but holidaying at home.  This is roughly the same as last year (38%)
-Over three-quarters (76%) of Brits are planning at least one domestic holiday for 2012 with nearly half (47%) planning to take two or more
-The Olympics have, so far, failed to have a major impact on British travel plans:
o    Two-thirds (67%) of respondents said it will not factor into their travel 2012 plans
o    However 12% will purposefully not travel during the Olympics so they can stay at home and watch
o    A hopeful 10% intend to take advantage of possible bargain travel deals outside of the UK during the Olympics

Foreign Travel Forecast
Short-haul travel is expected to outpace long-haul travel by a larger margin in 2012 than it did in 2011 as Brits admit they’ll look to economically hard-hit Eurozone countries – Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Spain, for example – for good deals:
-88% of Brits are planning at least one short-haul trip in 2012
-60% of Brits are planning at least one long-haul trip in 2012, down from 66% in 2011. 
-Of those planning a long-haul trip, North America is the most popular destination, followed by Asia then Africa
-34% of Brits admit they’ll plan to take advantage of hard-hid Eurozone countries for good deals

“This year’s results demonstrate that while financial concerns are clearly front of mind, resilient Brits are not prepared to sacrifice their 2012 holidays,” commented Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor spokesperson. “Brits are considering their holiday budgets carefully but crucially we still intend to spend on leisure travel, with the vast majority planning on spending at least the same as last year.”

*Survey carried out on 6.092 travellers, including 1,440 respondents from the UK.  Survey conducted in October 2011