Cleanliness is top on the list of travellers’ concerns, according to a new poll.
The annual trends poll of more than 2,500 travellers from around the world, conducted by travel website TripAdvisor, also found Jerba in Tunisia to be the top destination and British Airways the favoured airline among travellers outside the US.
Eight out of ten respondents said they were concerned about germs, bacteria and viruses when travelling, with 28 per cent considering planes to be “germy”. People are also worried about cleanliness in restaurants, hotels and airports, and 55 per cent said they wash their hands more often when they are travelling.
As well as this, many tourists take their own cleaning supplies, shower shoes, towels and sheets with them when they go on a trip, and clean toilets are considered to be the mark of a great airport.
Unfortunately, Heathrow Airport did not come out well in the survey, tying with Chicago O’ Hare for the dubious accolade of being the world’s least favourite airport. With the opening of Terminal 5 around the corner (in March, 2008), however, this could change in the next few years.
The world’s favourite airport is Amsterdam Schiphol, and the world’s favourite airline is American Airlines (with British Airways and Southwest tied in second place). Among travellers outside the US, BA was the top airline, praised especially for its friendly staff, good punctuality record and comfortable seating.
Other issues highlighted by the TripAdvisor survey included the use of mobile phones on flights, with an overwhelming 78 per cent of respondents saying they do not think they should be allowed.
This corroborates a previous poll conducted by YouGov, which found that most travellers (in particular business travellers) oppose the use of in-flight mobiles (see related Cheapflights story). However, UK telecoms regulator Ofcom has spelled out proposals that could see mobile usage in flights as soon as next year, with airlines including Ryanair expressing an interest.
Other trends identified include the fact that 54 per cent of respondents from outside America will be inspired to travel to the States over the coming 12 months because of the weak dollar, and that more travellers are considering taking part in an educational activity (such as a cookery class) when they are on holiday next year.
TripAdvisor has also developed an algorithm that predicts which destinations will be travel hotspots in the future.
Jerba in Tunisia is set to be number one, with tourists no doubt drawn by the promise of guaranteed sunshine. An island off the coast of North Africa, Jerba is notable for the whitewashed houses that are dotted around the place and there is easily enough on offer to keep holidaymakers occupied for two weeks.
Makandi Bay in Egypt and Phangnga in Thailand were in second and third spots respectively, and completing the top ten were: Kovalam (India), Sabaudia (Italy), Asilah (Morocco), Ko Phangan (Thailand), La Plagne (France), Yangshuo (China) and Kotor (Montenegro).