02 June 2006

Florida not as popular as before

Interesting item in Travelmole about the collapse of a travel agency specialising in the USA, and Florida in particular.

"The Florida market has been really tough for a while now" says the owner, and the article continues... 'Many operators, including First Choice, have recently reported a slump in bookings to Florida, as families look for an alternative to theme park holidays.'

I'm sure there has been a slump, but I wasn't aware there has been a mass movement away from theme park holidays. The market may have come slightly 'off the boil' recently with fewer new parks and rides opening (actually there have been some terrific rides opening recently in the USA, like Goliath at Six Flags over Georgia, and The Voyage at Holiday World and Splashin' Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana... just not at the well-known parks in Florida), but theme park holidays are generational - families go when their kids are in the age bracket and when they stop the next, younger families start going.

No, I think the reason has a lot to do with the perceived (or real) welcome, hassle and privacy issues involved in travelling these days to the USA. As I've suggested before Brits are getting less enthusiastic about unwelcoming officials, lengthy immigration queues, inquisitorial security checks, the risk of having their baggage forced open for inspection unless they remembered to keep it unlocked, and the requirement for 34 pieces of passenger information including credit card details and phone numbers to be transmitted to American officials prior to arrival.

I'm sure the response of many British families is 'why bother? Let's go somewhere else'.

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