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The Love Island Effect

The Love Island Effect

From TV screen to sunscreen: Virgin holidays reveals majority of young Brits book a holiday based solely on what they see on TV shows.


  • Research reveals that one in ten Brits are now planning a trip to South Africa this year, because of Love Island

  • A further 14 percent of respondents say they will jet to Los Angeles in a bid to keep up with the Kardashians

  • Research comes hot on the heels of Virgin Holidays’ winter sale which offers big savings across the most popular holiday destinations worldwide


Nationwide researchof millennials reveals the extent to which reality TV is influencing young people when it comes to planning their holiday destinations.

In fact, Virgin Holidays reveals a staggering 73 percent of the 2,000 respondents aged 23-38 polled, have booked a holiday SOLELY because they saw the destination on television.

According to the poll, one in 10 young Brits are planning on visiting South Africa after feeling inspired by watching this year’s winter Love Island, which sees the ‘Islanders' soak up the sun at their Cape Town villa, surrounded by the lush South African landscape.

Table Mountain in South Africa

This ‘Love Island Effect’ has also been seen by Virgin Holidays, with data showcasing a 25% rise in passengers travelling to South Africa year on year2 since the 1st January. Living the life of a ‘Love Islander’ is more attainable than ever too, as new data3 highlights that Cape Town is currently in the top 10 cheapest destinations to visit in 2020.

The list of travel destinations inspired by reality TV shows doesn’t end there, with 14 percent of millennials set to visit LA on the off-chance they’ll bump into the Kardashians, while a TOWIE-obsessed one in 10 are planning to head to Marbella to get a tan worthy of the Sugar Hut. A further 15 percent of young Brits are keen to head ‘Down Under’ to the Australian Gold Coast because of I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here.

Table Mountain in South Africa

Joe Thompson, Managing Director at Virgin Holidays, said: It’s inevitable that we will be enticed by crystal blue waters and white, sandy beaches during our cold, British winters, and our research suggests that more young Brits than ever are choosing their holiday destinations based on what they have seen on television.

“Virgin Holidays is committed to offering a wide range of holiday destinations and with our winter sale now on, there has never been a better time to chase those dreams inspired by cultural moments and book.”

The big screen also plays a part in helping Brits choose holidays, as the data revealed nearly a quarter (23 percent) would consider booking a trip to the Caribbean solely because of Pirates of the Caribbean, while nearly a fifth (18 percent) said that watching Jurassic Park made them plan a trip to Hawaii.


Nearly half of respondents (49 percent) admit that they’ve taken an obligatory selfie in a recognisable TV location, such as in front of Carrie Bradshaw’s famous New York apartment from Sex and the City, while a fifth have even tagged the star of the TV show, when posting images of the location in the hope of being noticed.

The study also found that programmes like Love Island don’t just inspire millennials’ holiday choices, they also dictate what they pack in their suitcases. 43 percent of Brits said TV shows influence what clothes they pack for their travels and said they want to ‘dress to impress’ when landing on foreign soil.

But reality TV is not the only influence, as nearly two thirds of the twenty and thirty somethings polled said they always consider how ‘Instagrammable’ a travel destination is before they book a holiday.  

Penguins on a beach


When comparing holidays, 35 percent of modern Brits said they wouldn’t dream of taking the same type of holidays that their parents did.

Seven in 10 said their parents chose holiday destinations based on ‘affordability and practicality’, whereas 35% of young people polled said they were influenced by the need to have a ‘white sandy beach’ in their preferred holiday hotspots.

In contrast, four in 10 of those polled said their parents were mostly motivated by getting a good deal on the price and 22 percent said their parents just needed ‘guaranteed sunshine’ for their holiday to be perfect.


White sandy beaches (40 percent), crystal clear waters (33 percent), an infinity pool (24 percent) and glamorous bars (18 percent) were all cited as holiday must-haves for millennials wanting to boast to their friends on Instagram. Perfect sunsets (33 percent), palm trees (31 percent) and beautiful people (13 percent) were also listed as important holiday requirements.


  1. A white sandy beach
  2. Balcony with a sea view
  3. Crystal clear waters
  4. The perfect sunrise
  5. Palm trees
  6. Local wildlife
  7. Beautiful photo opportunities
  8. Iconic landmarks
  9. Lakes
  10. Vibrant local culture

Research commissioned by Ginger Comms on behalf of Virgin Holidays of 1,509 respondents aged 23 – 38

Data according to Virgin Holidays


Tagged in:

  • South Africa
  • Tours and Safaris
  • Family fun
  • City and shopping breaks
  • Africa
28 Jan 2020 | Virgin Holidays