SOURCE: Cheapflights.com

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January 06, 2011 11:01 ET

Cheapflights.com Presents Its Top Travel Predictions for the New Year

Forecast Includes the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - January 6, 2011) -  Cheapflights.com, the leading website for finding and publishing travel deals, has taken a look into a crystal ball and presents its Top Five Travel Predictions for 2011. 

"As we begin 2011, we can't help but reflect on the past year," says Oonagh Shiel, site editor at Cheapflights.com. "Although the travel industry had some turbulent times, such as the volcano ash, additional security measures, more and more airline fees, on the whole the industry saw a rebound. And as we enter this new year, Cheapflights experts have reviewed some of the trends that started to present themselves in 2010 and share with you what we forecast for the future. Exciting new destinations, new ways to book travel and the direction airfares will take were all reviewed. The bright light is that travel will continue to increase, however the landscape continues to evolve."

Here, Cheapflights.com issues Air Travel's Top Five Predictions for 2011:

Solo Travel / Literary Travel -- The world is more open to solo travel and soul searching than ever before. The release of iconic movies such as Eat Pray Love has brought new elements to last year's 'Travel with a Purpose' trend. Since its premiere on August 13th 2010, search to India has risen by 26 percent year on year showing that more travelers are up to following in the footsteps of author Liz Gilbert to explore the world independently, and travel companies and lodging are supporting the trend with special accommodations in the solo travel category.

Travel Hot Spots -- With every New Year comes predictions for new holiday hotspots. The effects of the recession coupled with global events such as the World Cup have reprioritized the way travelers search, what leads their destination choices and have even expanded the distances they're willing to travel. As such, Cheapflights.com predicts the trending hotspots for 2011 will include the likes of Brazil, Morocco, Tunisia, China, and up and comers within Eastern Europe that are still in Europe but don't yet use the Euro such as Latvia, and Lithuania, among others. In other words, people are a lot more flexible with their destinations, with trying new things, and a lot more open to new places.

Techno-travel 2011 -- Smart phones and applications add an extra element of fun on the go, and the fact that the internet is accessible at any time through smart phones could spur an increase in last-minute travel bookings from phones. Flexibility is the cornerstone to finding great deals and particularly, cheap deals, which is the essence of the Cheapflights product, so the ability to search and compare flights on the go should encourage last-minute travel.

Air Fares will Rise -- We believe that air fares will tend to move upwards in 2011. Passenger demand has increased to 5 percent over pre 2008 levels although IATA sees the increase in demand pace slowing in the New Year. Some important points for consumers to keep in mind include:

  • Increased taxation and other fees charged to aviation are likely to be passed on to consumers
  • Airlines are increasing capacity at a conservative pace, keeping the supply/demand ratio more in sync than it was pre recession
  • Asian Economies are recovering well and energy demand from them is putting upward demand on oil prices -- analysts expect the price to push through $100 per barrel in the near future
  • The International Energy Agency has revised its estimate of world-wide oil demand for this year to 2.3 million barrels a day, the second highest in the last 15 years

The Airline Fee Wars Continue -- Many legacy airlines have turned added fees and services into a large and profitable line of business. From baggage to peak travel to flight change fees as well as in cabin services from WiFi to wine, users face a surround sound of potential extras charges. The fees battles tie to brand as well. Southwest is making this an issue with its no fee advertising campaigns while on the flipside American and Delta are playing with their sales channels, looking at ways to control how all their services are packaged and sold to consumers. Look for more bold moves by airlines as they try to minimize their fees while maximizing consumers'. And be prepared to take control of your own travel costs through more deals research, checking sites like Cheapflights.com that work with a diverse mix of airlines and online travel agencies.

About Cheapflights Media
Cheapflights Media is an international media network providing users with different ways to find low cost travel. Since 1996, Cheapflights Media has been helping consumers research, compare and save on domestic and international travel. Our flagship brand, Cheapflights, is one of the largest flight deals publishers, delivering over 4 million deals daily. With brand-name deals on airline tickets from more than 300 partners and 600 airlines and a team of travel experts hand picking the best offerings, Cheapflights offers visitors a mix of deals they can't find anywhere else. zugu, the newest brand in the Cheapflights Media portfolio, is a powerful and simple travel search engine that makes it easy to compare and select the lowest available fares online. By organizing flight options by date, airline and time, zugu helps consumers find the best fares based on their travel terms. There are currently Cheapflights-branded sites for the U.K., U.S., Canada, Germany, Australia & New Zealand, France, Italy and Spain. zugu is available in the U.K., U.S. and Germany. For more information, visit www.cheapflights.com.

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