'Diaspora tourism' set to grow

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The influx of immigrants to the UK, many from eastern Europe, is presenting a new opportunity for the UK travel industry.

Net immigration to the UK is projected at 230,000 a year until 2012, and the World Travel Market Global Trends Report 2007 has identified 'diaspora tourism' as one of the key tourism trends of the next few years.

The WTM report, produced in partnership with market intelligence company Euromonitor, recognises three types of diaspora tourism - heritage, residential and festival.

"Heritage tourism is predominantly driven by diaspora tourists that wish to discover their ancestry and heritage," explains WTM chairman, Fiona Jeffery. Such tourists tend to travel back to their homeland from the UK for one or two weeks to trace their family routes and take language or culinary courses.

Residential tourists are typically eastern Europeans who plan to invest in property in their native country, while festival tourists travel home for major events and festivals such as Christmas, Easter, weddings and christenings.

The growth in low-cost airlines serving eastern Europe is helping to fuel diaspora tourism. Wizz Air is one such airline, offering flights from several UK airports including Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Liverpool, Belfast and Glasgow Prestwick to eastern European countries including Hungary, Poland and Romania.

Written by: Nick Purdom


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