Quest to Visit Lagos by British Tourists Rises by 96%

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•  Ranked 13th most visited non-European destination 

By Gboyega Akinsanmi

The demand to spend summer holidays in Lagos State by British tourists and visitors has risen by 96 per cent between 2017 and 2018, according to a report by KAYAK, one of the world’s foremost travel organisations.

KAYAK, an independently managed subsidiary of Booking Holdings Inc, issued the report at the weekend covering searches made by British tourists and visitors for holidays beyond Europe in the last two years. 

Specifically, the report ranked Lagos, a widely acknowledged model megacity, 13th non-European destination, thereby making the city-state Africa’s choicest destination, especially for British tourists and visitors.

Unlike previous years, as the report analysed, Lagos is more popular than Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, Ibiza and Prague, all of which had drastically fallen out of tourists’ favour.

However, tourists’ demand to spend summer holidays in Nairobi and Mombasa, both in Kenya, respectively rose by 156 per cent and 181 per cent, the report ranked the former 15th non-European destination for Britons, two steps behind the city-state of Lagos.  

In an analysis that sampled the 2017 summer holiday searches, the report said Lagos “is not far behind by all standards. Searches for trips to the city-state of Lagos city have shot up 96 per cent, compared to 2017.”

When compared to previous summers, the report said Lagos “has also made huge strides, moving from 31st place to 13th when it comes to overall demand. And Johannesburg is up one place from 22nd to 21st.”

The ranking of Lagos might not be unconnected with a recent survey that showed a significant improvement in what tourism sector contributed to the state’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017.

At a summit fortnights ago, the state Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, disclosed that tourism sector contributed $2.2 billion (equivalent to N800 billion) to the state’s GDP in 2017, thereby representing 0.016 percent of the GDP.

With the state’s increased spending on iconic infrastructure and resources being deployed in the sector, the governor hoped that the figure “will  double or treble in the next five years.

“The enormous resources we have deployed in physical and social infrastructure across the state will begin to crystallise by December into mega structures that will support tourism and market our state as a smart destination.”

In the case of Kenya, however, the report revealed that Britons chose to spend holidays beyond the continent in July and August 2017, noting that the demands for trips to Nairobi “are up 156 per cent – and to Mombasa on the Kenyan coast by 181 per cent.

“Nairobi had shot up the rankings in popularity (judged by searches) from 48th in 2017 to 15th in 2018. Demand for trips to Mombasa have nearly tripled in just one year,” the KAYAK report disclosed.

According to the report, it is now Britain’s 44th most popular international holiday destination for this summer – just behind Cape Town – having previously not featured close to the top 100.

The report noted that the top three most popular non-European destinations for Brits “are New York, then Orlando and in third place is Colombo in Sri Lanka, with its tourism boom continuing after decades of civil war.

“Manila in the Philippines, meanwhile, has also stormed into the top 10 and is now the sixth most popular international holiday destination, with a year-on-year increase of 69 per cent. India also saw solid gains in demand, with Chennai up 57 per cent and Mumbai up 30 per cent.”

When it comes to Europe, the report said the two biggest trends for this summer “are the resurgence of Turkey and the increasing popularity of Eastern Europe.

“Istanbul has seen demand increase by 114 per cent this summer compared to last year, rising from the 29th most popular European destination to eighth.

“Meanwhile, Antalya in Turkey has seen demand increase by 92 per cent, climbing to 19th place, having previously been out of the top 50. Bodrum, on Turkey’s Southwest coast, has seen its demand increase by 45 per cent, placing it 39th overall,” the report said.

However, according to the report, the European destination that has seen its popularity increase the most for this summer compared to last year is Bucharest in Romania, which has jumped from 46th place to 15th thanks to a huge increase in demand of 125 per cent.

Also in Eastern Europe, the report revealed that Tirana, the Albanian capital, “has seen demand soar by 76 per cent, moving up to 17th from 41. The strongest demand at Kayak.co.uk overall this summer in Europe has been for traditional favourites Alicante, followed by Malaga and Faro.

“The destinations that are falling out of favour include Ibiza (down 42 per cent), Prague (down 42 per cent), Los Angeles (down 32 per cent), San Francisco (down 35 per cent), Las Vegas (down 40 per cent), Chicago (down 33 per cent) and Boston (down 45 per cent).”