Istanbul, Rome, Milan: Love Island winners could be boosting tourism in these European cities


‘Love Island’ winners Ekin-Su and Davide may be behind a surge in holidays to Turkey and Italy this autumn.

UK flights to Ekin-Su’s home city of Istanbul are up around 626 per cent on last year, travel search engine KAYAK reports. While Davide’s birthplace of Rome is seeing 232 per cent more traffic on the site compared to September-November 2021.

Obviously the resurgence of travel since the pandemic is a big factor. But could the loved-up couple be turning holidaymakers’ heads to southern Europe too?

“Whilst these search spikes could be a coincidence, it isn’t the first time we’ve seen pop culture influence travel behaviour,” comments Evan Day, UK country manager at KAYAK.

“There certainly appears to be a fandom around the couple, and with the recent announcement of their own [ITV2] travel programme exploring their native countries, it seems quite possible that fans are looking to explore their native countries this autumn.”

Whether you’re an avowed Ekin-De superfan, or just after a sunny getaway, here are the latest stats on travel to Turkey and Italy.

The cheapest holiday hotspots in Turkey

Istanbul is currently the most sought-after European city to visit this autumn among UK travellers.

The cosmopolitan city looks good on paper too. While the weak pound has made US trips more expensive, sterling still has a relatively good exchange rate with the lira.

Ekin-Su Cülcüloğlu could also be drawing tourists to Antalya and Dalaman. The coastal resorts have recently joined KAYAK’s top 10 most searched European destinations for September to November.

Istanbul flight prices are up around 53 per cent on last year, with average economy return prices around £280 (€312). However it is still cheaper than Antalya (around £282 or €315 on average) and Dalaman (around £319 or €356 on average).

Brits are flocking to Milan and Venice following Davide’s win

Davide Sanclimenti happens to be from a popular European capital too. And it’s obviously his adoration for Ekin that is driving tourists to Rome – not the Colosseum, Spanish Steps, or any other ancient or natural wonders.

Flight searches have more than doubled this autumn compared to last year, notes KAYAK, when we didn’t know who Davide was.

Meanwhile, searches to Milan and Venice have risen over five-fold. Those looking for a wallet-friendly holiday are on the right track with Milan, according to the travel experts.

Flight prices to the fashionable city are down around 11 per cent on last year, with average return economy flight costs coming in at £57 (€64).

Rome is a little pricier at around £147 (€164) for return economy flights, up around 62 per cent on last year.

The figures are based on flight searches made on KAYAK from 1 July to 20 August 2022, for travel dates between 1 September and 30 November, compared to the same period in 2021.

Can we know for sure that the lovers are inspiring more travellers? Maybe it just is what it is.


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