'Retro destinations' tipped for comeback for UK holidaymakers

Tour operator Thomas Cook says "retro destinations" are making a comeback with holidaymakers.

Judith Charmers in Wish You Were Here
Judith Charmers in Wish You Were Here

The travel giant is expecting a spike in demand for breaks in Costa Brava, Madeira and Malta, which all used to be popular for bucket and spade trips.

It revealed a 40% plunge in UK earnings last week but UK managing director Chris Mottershead believes its 2018 performance will be boosted by holidays to places which had fallen out of fashion.

He said: "We've seen destinations move up and down the popularity stakes and next year we're predicting that Malta, Madeira and Costa Brava will catch the attention of holidaymakers who perhaps didn't think they ticked the right box for their needs.

"From Michelin star restaurants in Costa Brava to music festivals in Malta and outstanding natural beauty in Madeira, these retro destinations really will challenge holidaymakers' misconceptions."

Thomas Cook is selling holidays to Spain's Costa Brava for the first time since 2009 as the destination has developed a reputation for food and wine.

The region was a firm favourite with UK holidaymakers in the 1980s but its popularity dropped as accommodation became dated.

Thomas Cook believes the high number of top class restaurants and Gaudi-inspired architecture will attract tourists to its new and refurbished hotels.

The firm stopped selling holidays to Madeira in 2015 as it was seen by many as a place for mature travellers.


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But the Portuguese archipelago is returning to Thomas Cook brochures for 2018 after inventing itself as a hotspot for younger visitors enjoying lively nightlife, while thrill-seekers can take part in activities such as mountain climbing and tobogganing.

Football fans are also going to Madeira as it is the birthplace of Cristiano Ronaldo and they can visit the Real Madrid star's museum or stay at his CR7 hotel.

UK holidaymakers have been travelling to Malta for more than 40 years and it is becoming a destination for music lovers due to two annual festivals, I Love MTV and Annie Mac Presents.

It has also been used as a filming location for Game Of Thrones, which is expected to attract fans of the popular show.


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Thomas Cook last week reported underlying earnings of £52 million for the UK division in the year to September 30, down from £86 million the previous year.

It was knocked by rising hotel prices, the weak pound and intense competition in the Spanish market.