For the last four summers tourist trends have been towards cheaper destinations – for the UK tourist countries that don’t have the Euro – travel firms have offered more holidays to Egypt, Morocco and Turkey, offering package holidays to destinations not previously popular on the holiday map.
But they were caught out when political unrest swept the region, beginning in Morocco and spreading to Egypt, Syria and other countries, in what has become known as the Arab Spring.
And the shift away from the new cheaper destinations was as quick as the uprisings that caught decades old regimes off-guard, and the beneficaries were the traditional tourist areas, notably Spain and her islands.
A clear example is the winter holiday destinations – in recent years those wanting some warm weather increasingly were heading to Egypt, deemed by many to be too hot in the summer but great between November and April, who are now more likely to be looking at a Tenerife map.
While more expensive than Egypt, Tenerife is regarded as safer. If memories are short and the political unrest from early in 2011 was beginning to be forgotten, a new wave of protests in November and December brought the troubles there sharply back into focus.
It seems that mainland Spain as well as her islands are the main beneficiary in the move away from Egypt, Morocco and Turkey. Tourists have been taking comfort in their old favourites, and returning to holiday destinations where they had visited before the newly promoted cheaper destinations lured them away.
The question for these towns and resorts is whether they can keep the tourists coming back once the political dust has settled, for example in the case of Tenerife the recently dusted down Tenerife map – will it be returned to the kitchen drawer, where it had laid unused for five years or more.
Another country that stands to do well from the political troubles in North Africa and the Middle East is Portugal, with the area known as the Algarve drawing the vast majority of visitors to the country.
As well as conventional hotel based vacations the Algarve is popular for villa holidays, particularly with families. The cost of a villa can often work out the same as two hotel rooms and gives more space and a private swimming pool for them to enjoy.
How much does a villa cost to rent in popular destinations like the Algarve and Tenerife for the 2012 summer holidays? For the peak months Britain’s leading villa agency have availability suitable for a family of two adults and two children ranging between a thousand and three thousand Sterling for a week.
Over in Tenerife the cost of renting for a week is similar. But late deals from private owners can bring the costs down significantly. Often private owners will cut between ten to twenty five per cent off the cost of a villa rental three or four weeks in advance, taking the view that some income is better than having the villa stand empty during prime holiday time.
Spain and the islands might be regarded as…