Spain, together with the Canary Islands, is the most popular aircraft destination amongst Belgians, according the analysis of summer reservations for Thomas Cook published on Sunday. The tour operator is also indicating that Belgians are taking their summer holidays ever earlier. This year, the majority of departures are around the month of July.
Belgians have opted en masse to go on holiday, by air to Spain this summer. “It turns out that 34.3 % of Belgian families are jetting off to Spain: this compares to 13% for the Canary Islands, 11.5% the Balearics, and 9.8% for continental Spain,” say Thomas Cook.
Spain has gone ahead of Turkey at the top of the rankings of favourite Belgian family holiday destinations. Turkey is seeing a fall in reservations by nearly one half: There are 24.3% of holidaymakers are heading off to Turkey in 2016, as compared to 40.5% in 2015.
Greece has gained ground in the rankings of principal air destinations: having had 19.6 % of the departures in 2015, this has increased a little to 22.4% this year.
It is evident that Belgians are looking for destinations, which are alternatives to Turkey and Tunisia. “Turkey is being hard hit in the geopolitical context. Moreover, negative travel advice is still affecting Tunisia. However, we hope that Belgian foreign affairs are shifting this negative opinion of the region and aligning it with the opinion of, for example, France and Luxembourg.” So explains Koen van den Bosch, the official spokesman for Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium.
As respects car holidays, France, Austria and Italy are currently the most enticing.
As regards departure periods, the greatest number of reservations have been noted for July. According to tour operator data, 52.8 % of car holidays get under way in July, as compared to 23% in August. For airline departures, we are also seeing growth: There will be 39% in July, as compared to 35.5% for the same period last year.
“It is a shift which we have already seen for several years. However, this year the difference will reach a peak,” concludes Mr van den Bosch. This trend may, in particular, be explained by the fact that the Easter holidays fell earlier this year.