Lindsay O’Gorman

Marketing Executive, Hitwise

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50%+ increases in US and Australian Internet searches for flights to the UK

Edinburgh the most popular destination after London for American and Australian travellers

Budget airlines benefit from increase in overseas traffic



London, 30 September 2009 – Experian Hitwise, the leading online competitive intelligence service, today reveals that both American and Australian Internet searches for flights to the UK have increased by more than 50% over the last 12 months. Between August 2008 and August 2009 the volume of Internet searches for a portfolio of search terms relating to searches for flights to the United Kingdom (for example: ‘cheap flights to the UK’, ‘london flights’, ‘flights to glasgow scotland’) increased by 55.6% in the USA and 50.4% in Australia.


“The weakness of the Pound against the Dollar and Euro resulted in a boom year for the domestic tourist industry this year, as many Britons chose to take a ‘staycation’ in the UK rather than go abroad,” commented Robin Goad, Research Director at Experian Hitwise, “In addition to this domestic boost, the weak Pound has also had the effect of making the UK a cheaper destination for tourists from overseas. This in turn has led to these increases in searches for flights to the UK from two of the most important markets for the UK tourism industry.”


Edinburgh the most popular destination after London for American and Australian tourists


Over half of both American and Australian searches for flights to the UK during August 2009 specified London, or one of its airports, as the destination. The second most popular destination for UK-bound flight searches from both countries was Edinburgh. Other popular British travel related terms included ‘map of england’ (which was the most popular UK travel search term in the USA) and ‘car hire uk’ (the most popular non-flight related UK travel search term in Australia).


Budget airlines benefit from increase in overseas traffic


During August, British Airways was the second biggest recipient of searches for UK-bound flights in the USA after, while Virgin Atlantic ranked fifth. British Airways was also the most popular non-domestic airline website in the USA, ranking 17th in the Commercial Airlines category during August, three places ahead of Germany’s Lufthansa. Virgin Atlantic ranked 28th, while Ryanair was 47th and easyJet 68th.


“The fact that the main budget airlines serving the UK are receiving traffic from markets they don’t currently serve directly implies that people are flying into London from long haul destinations and then using the city as a base for further domestic or European flights,” commented Goad. “US Internet visits to Ryanair’s website have increased by 8.7% this year, while in Australia traffic to easyJet’s homepage has gone up by 50.4%.”


When it comes to the popular ‘kangaroo route’ between Australia and the UK, the market remains extremely competitive. The airline that received the most traffic from Australian searches for flights to the UK during August was Malaysia Airlines, followed by Emirates and Etihad. Virgin Atlantic ranked 5th, while British Airways was 6th and its codeshare partner Quantas was fourth. Overall, Quantas is the most visited airline website in Australia, but the big Asian and Middle Eastern carriers (including Singapore Airlines, Emirates, Malaysia Airlines and Cathay Pacific – all of which fly between Australia and the UK) all picked up more Australian Internet visits than either British Airways or Virgin Atlantic.

About Experian Hitwise

Experian Hitwise is the leading online competitive intelligence service. Experian Hitwise gives marketers a competitive advantage by providing daily insights on how 25 million Internet users around the world interact with more than 1 million Web sites. This external view helps companies grow and protect their businesses by identifying threats and opportunities as they develop. Experian Hitwise has more than 1,500 clients across numerous sectors, including financial services, media, travel and retail.


Experian Hitwise (FTS:EXPN),, operates in the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Canada and Brazil. More information about Experian Hitwise is available at


For up-to-date analysis of online trends, please visit the Experian Hitwise research blog at and the Experian Hitwise Data Centre at


About Experian

Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients in more than 65 countries. The company helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to manage their credit relationships and protect against identity theft.


Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2009 was $3.9 billion. Experian employs approximately 15,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; Costa Mesa, California; and São Paulo, Brazil. 


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