British holidaymakers are rediscovering their love for Egypt, with Thomas Cook recording an 89 per cent increase in bookings on last year.
The travel operator's holiday report for 2018 shows that Egypt is back on the map of UK tourist destinations, despite the fact that the popular Sharm el Sheikh resort effectively remains closed to visitors following the 2015 terrorist attack that killed 224 people on board a flight from the resort. Shortly after that, the UK suspended direct flights to the resort town and tourism in the once popular destination took a massive hit.
Instead, Brits have discovered places such as the city of Hurghada and the town of Marsa Alam on the Red Sea coast.
"Brits have returned to Egypt in big numbers and are showing similar enthusiasm for Tunisia now the foreign and commonwealth office advice has changed," said the report. It added that visitor numbers to the Red Sea are now close to where they were for Thomas Cook in 2015.
The foreign office still warns that terrorists are likely to carry out attacks in Egypt and against travel to Sharm el Sheikh by air.
Brits are also returning to Turkey, which has endured a number of terror attacks in recent years, in high numbers: package holiday bookings to Turkey are currently up 84 per cent year-on-year.
"That popularity should continue as Turkey sees the highest number of return customers of any destination – 18 per cent up from 16 per cent last year," said Thomas Cook.
In 2015, Tunisia also suffered a terror attack in which an Isis gunman opened fire on a beach, killing 32 people. Thomas Cook said it too could be "the next success story" after the three weekly flights to Hammamet that were reintroduced in February sold out. The bookings have been so popular that the airline has increased the number of weekly flights to 11.
Unsurprisingly, it was Spain that clinched the top spot as Brits' favourite holiday destination, closely followed by Greece.