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UK named Europe’s shopping capital

13th September 2010 Print

With its heady mix of history, culture and geography, Europe has always enchanted the global traveller. No matter what the season, Europe has an array of experiences to offer.

But what really attracts today’s travellers to an European holiday? Is it the sunny beaches of the Mediterranean, winter wonderland in the Alps, or shopping in one of its fashion capitals? Lifestyle and travel social network, commissioned a survey among more than 6500 travellers worldwide to discover how European countries ranked against each other in a number of different categories.

According to respondents the most popular reason for visiting Europe is ‘culture’ with just under a quarter of respondents (24.2%) stating that it mattered most when considering a trip to Europe. And in that category Italy comes out tops with 41.5% of respondents including it in their top five European destinations to visit for cultural reasons, followed by France and the UK. Italy also beat off stiff competition from France and Spain to be crowned top gastronomic destination.

Not ready for summer to end? WAYN respondents believe you can’t go wrong holidaying in Spain or Italy, which took the top two spots in the summer holiday category. Or perhaps you’re already planning that perfect winter break? Then Switzerland and Austria are the places to be this winter according to survey results, having got the most votes for top winter destination. France came third in both categories confirming its holiday credentials no matter what the season.

The UK takes the cake in two categories. It was chosen by respondents as the top destination for shopping, followed by France and Italy, while it was also ranked number one in the value for money holiday category. However such positive perceptions are tempered by the fact that it was chosen as the least accessible destination owing to visa restrictions/ immigration procedures.

In the friendliness stakes, Italy again took top prize. On the other hand, the French have yet to shed their image of being unfriendly as France got the most votes for the destination with the least friendly locals, followed closely by Germany, while the UK was in third position.

As for general safety, the results do not portray Eastern European countries favourably, with Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania all making it into the top ten of the least safe European destinations. Western Europe is also represented in the top ten list with the UK coming in fifth and Italy in tenth.

Finally, in one of the most coveted categories, when respondents were asked to choose one country if given the chance to have a free holiday, Switzerland came out as number one, followed by Italy and the UK.

Commenting on the findings, WAYN Co-Founder and Co- CEO Jerome Touze stated that the survey results shine a light on reputations that are in some cases deserved but in others, not. “A case in point is how Eastern European destinations are perceived as being less safe than their Western counterparts, which might not necessarily be true but that perception persists, probably due to a lack of information and hearsay.”

He added: “Notable also is the fact that some results show a full spectrum of opinions/perceptions. A case in point is the subject of friendliness, with France occupying fifth position on the ‘friendliest destinations’ list, while simultaneously taking first place in the ‘least friendly destinations’ list. This is probably symptomatic of the fact that there are mixed messages being received by a destination’s target audience.”

The survey was taken online by 6597 WAYN members. A summary of the results can be viewed at:

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