Paris recovers, UK suffers


US travellers have regained confidence in Paris as a winter travel destination, but fewer are opting to head to the UK, according to data from Allianz Global Assistance (Allianz).

The end of 2016 saw a major decrease in the number of US holidaymakers heading to Paris, but according to Allianz’s Top 10 Holiday Destination Report, the 2017 winter season is projected to see a 16.3-per-cent increase in these travellers heading to the French capital.

At the same time, previously popular cities in the UK such as London and Manchester are set to see a decrease in US visitor numbers compared with 2016.

Allianz analysed the travel plans of nearly 800,000 Americans for the peak holiday travel period – Thanksgiving through the end of the year – and found that Paris was the second most popular European destination; a remarkable comeback. And even though London’s Heathrow Airport will see a 10.9-per-cent decrease in US holiday traffic, London will remain the number one European destination for this demographic.

The other three European destinations making up the top five are Rome, Frankfurt and Amsterdam. Rome will see the biggest increase in visitor numbers, with a 56.4 per cent increase, compared with the equivalent period in 2016.

“We’re pleased to see that Americans’ confidence in European travel, particularly to Paris, is returning this holiday season,” said Daniel Durazo, director of communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA. “While world events including terrorism continue to impact travellers’ interest in travelling to the UK, London remains the top holiday travel destination, and many other cities like Rome, Reykjavik and Athens are enjoying nice gains in popularity this year.”