Thomas Cook sees smaller Turkish resorts, North African adventures, split-generation holidays and the return of the Moscow Mule cocktail as key travel trends from the UK in 2020

13 September, 2019

We all enjoy some downtime away from the pressures of work, and even if we travel as part of our employment, a break abroad remains among the most popular ways to enjoy our holiday time. Tour operator Thomas Cook has now revealed its 2020 travel trend predictions.

Based on its UK booking data and customer insight, the travel company expects families will look to charming, smaller Turkish resorts for next year’s summer holidays, North Africa adventures will continue to grow in popularity, the retro Moscow Mule cocktail will make a comeback and split-generation holidays are the next big thing.

Thomas Cook says that this year, Turkey has leapfrogged Greece to take second position as a top summer destination and with holidaymakers falling back in love with this Eastern Mediterranean hotspot, Thomas Cook is seeing travellers branch out, exploring the villages beyond the big resorts.

With “affordable prices, stunning landscapes and an abundance of mouth-watering fresh produce,” Thomas Cook expects holidaymakers to explore more of Turkey next summer: it reveals that bookings for Dalyan and Ozdere are already up +12% and +7%, respectively. Self-catering accommodation in Turkey is also proving more popular for next summer, according to the tour operator, with an increase of +14% in Bed & Breakfast bookings and +11% in self-catering, showing Brits are keen to see more of smaller Turkey and experience the local cuisine and culture.

“Further to this, Turkey has the highest number of return customers when comparing to other key destinations, indicating this captivating country is set for another strong year,” highlights Thomas Cook.

In recent years, as stability has returned to the region, holidays to North Africa have crept up the holiday hotlist and Thomas Cook says this summer family bookings to Tunisia were up more than double year-on-year.

The destination traditionally offers good value for money, family-friendly expeditions and soft white sands, plus a year-round Mediterranean climate. Outside of Europe also means it is away from the Brexit debate, but safety concerns due to terrorism have remained a concern over recent years.

Thomas Cook says that from the UK, family sales to Tunisia are up +50% for this winter versus the same time last year and looking ahead to next summer, Tunisia shows no sign of slowing down with overall bookings up +25% year-on-year.

It’s not just Tunisia that is on the North Africa bucket list. The desire to delve into the Souks of Marrakech, or dine by the desert meant families accounted for +49% of bookings to Morocco and over +50% of bookings to Egypt this summer, reports the tour operator. Reflecting the demand, Thomas Cook’s fifth Casa Cook will be opening for families in El Gouna this winter.

The tour operator highlights that multi-generational holidays, where grandparents accompany parents and children abroad, have continued to gain momentum and today, almost two thirds (64%) of families either go on multi-generational holidays or are considering it, up from 57% in 2017.

However with the summer being long and costly, Thomas Cook predicts split-generation is the next big thing in the world of family holidays. Taking grandchildren away gives parents a break and the opportunity to save up annual leave. Over a third of Brits (37%) either send their children away with grandparents or are considering doing so for future holidays.

In a recent Mintel survey, when choosing a travel company nearly two thirds (64%) of families picked price as a reason for their choice, compared to 59% of empty nesters. This highlights that cost could be more of a consideration for parents, and a good opportunity for the older generation who have more disposable income to help them out with holiday costs.

“The six million British customers who holiday with Thomas Cook every year are looking for affordable holidays in charming places, the opportunity to open their children’s eyes to new countries, and lasting memories with loved ones across split-generations,” says Will Waggott, chief of tour operating at Thomas Cook UK.

“Turkey and North Africa are destinations we’re falling back in love with – they tick the value for money box thanks to being non-Euro and we expect these countries to continue to appeal to families well into next year and beyond,” he adds.

And while we are away, Thomas Cook predicts more of us will be enjoying Moscow Mule cocktails, which it is believed grew in popularity back in the 1940s thanks to the birth of the Polaroid Camera and the photographic qualities of the copper mug. In the Instagram-era, it seems this hipster aesthetic, combined with copper’s ability to keep the drink cool, has led to the retro Moscow Mule making a comeback, notes Thomas Cook.

While traditional cocktails such as Daiquiris and Sex on the Beach have remained consistent over the last five years, the tour operator says Google Trends data has shown a steady rise in popularity for the Moscow Mule among Brits and the spicy ginger beer drink is the most ordered cocktail at Thomas Cook’s Cook’s Club hotels this summer.

Further to this, Brits are seemingly looking to replicate the simple-to-serve recipe at home – searches for how to make a Moscow Mule in the last 12 months are up 50% versus the previous year and searches for Moscow mule mugs are up 200% versus the previous five years, according to Thomas Cook, again citing Google Trends data.