HOLIDAY hunters want to travel to Scotland more than some of the sunniest places on earth.
Experts say the credit crunch has forced Brits to look closer to home for a summer break, despite the current cold snap.
British breaks dominate the early bookings for 2009 holidays according to the Skyscanner website, which carried out the survey.
The rise in searches for Scottish holidays is also down to this year’s Homecoming events, according to Alex Salmond.
The first minister said: “Scotland is ready to welcome its guests – whether they are Scots returning home, people with Scots ancestry or people who simply love our country and culture.
“Scotland’s Year of Homecoming is about reuniting Scots and friends of Scotland with the aspects of commonality that bind them together, allowing them to share the pleasure and pride of our culture and heritage.”
While many people’s horizons were lowered by the credit crunch and the Euro’s value almost matching the pound, Turkey looks set to cash in.
The non-Euro European country has hung on to its own independent currency, which sent it leaping five places up the league to number five.
Skyscanner co-founder Barry Smith said: “It’s still early days for 2009 bookings, but already we can see that British people don’t want to give up their beach holidays, even when times are tough.
“This year, it’s all about making your money go as far as possible, which is why Spain remains an extremely popular destination for British travellers. It’s close, warm and still very good value.
“Turkey is another value destination, jumping up five places compared to last year’s top 10, partly because it’s outside the Euro-zone.”
Of the top 50 destinations, only eight were outside of Europe, suggesting that short haul travel will be the winner for 2009.
Despite a fall in UK-USA search traffic in the run up to Christmas due to the strengthening US dollar, New York and Orlando still made the top 20, as did Rome, Barcelona, Paris and Amsterdam.
Places least likely to see many UK travellers in 2009 included Dali City (China), Dera Ismail Khan (Pakistan) and Iron Mountain (Michigan, USA).
Top 50 most searched for destinations by UK visitors using Skyscanner.net for traveling in 2009:
1. London (UK)
2. Malaga (Spain)
3. Alicante (Spain)
4. Tenerife (Spain)
5. Dalaman (Turkey)
6. Faro (Portugal)
7. Palma (Spain)
8. Geneva (Switzerland)
9. Paphos (Cyprus)
10. Murcia (Spain)
21. Manchester (UK)
23. Dublin (Irleand)
28. Edinburgh (UK)
40. Glasgow (UK)
43. Birmingham (UK)