Pundits were already tipping Turkey as one of the most popular holiday destinations in 2019 at the beginning of the year.

However, with high season beginning this week, the country’s popularity appears to have been confirmed by the latest figures released by Thomas Cook which place Turkey second only to Spain among the UK’s holiday makers.

Uncertainty and the potential impact of Brexit is thought to have been a factor persuading Brits to consider breaks outside the EU.

Pole position

Both Tunisia and Egypt have also benefited, the latter in particular seeing a surge in demand.

However, in an article in the Daily Telegraph, Thomas Cook tour chief and spokesman Will Waggot indicated the way the data was compiled may even have disguised Turkey’s true popularity.

Boats excursions are always popular among holidaymakers visiting Turkey’s coastline. Picture by Steve Parsley

He said: “Turkey would take pole position were it not for the fact that Spain, the Canaries and the Balearics are grouped together as one.

“Aside from its attractiveness for being outside the EU, Turkey is a 2019 tourism hotspot thanks to the great value for money offered by its five-star resorts. Its diversity is an attraction in its own right.

“Alongside picture perfect sandy beaches, the snowy mountains, salt lakes, ancient ruins, blue lagoons and night bazaars all bring their own appeal.

“Food is a top priority for tourists today and Turkey’s fertile lands mean plenty of mouth-watering fresh produce finds its way onto holidaymakers’ plates – both in and out of the hotels.”

All-inclusive deals

But, while Turkey may benefit in terms of numbers, some business are already lamenting the trend towards all-inclusive packages.

This year, an estimated 60% of Thomas Cook’s bookings are for all-inclusive deals. They’re often great value four tourists on a budget but not always good news for smaller independent restaurants and bars trying to attract custom after a few less lucrative years.

The recent announcement that the Turkish public holidays to mark the end of Ramadan in June have been extended over nine days will help to boost domestic tourism.

However, with inflation running at 20%, Turks’ spending power has been curtailed, with some sources reporting a boom in the sale of camping gear in 2019.

Other Mediterranean destinations in the top five among Brits with their sights set on a holiday abroad include Greece and Cyprus while the United States is also a popular choice.

Turkey’s beaches offer some spectacular sunsets. Picture by Steve Parsley.