ABTA names Abu Dhabi ‘destination to watch’ for 2016

2nd Jan 2016
ABTA names Abu Dhabi ‘destination to watch’ for 2016

ABTA’s Travel Trends Report 2016 has revealed the ’12 Destinations to watch’ for 2016. The report, released in association with the Foreign & Commonwealth Office also highlights emerging and key trends in travel which will influence holiday habits in the year ahead.

Looking ahead to 2016, the report reveals that almost a quarter (23%) of the population are expecting to spend more on their holidays, up slightly from 20% last year.

Almost one in five people (18%) say they will travel to a country they have never been to before in 2016, compared to 9% who said this last year. Furthermore, nearly a quarter (23%) say they will try a new resort or city (even if they have visited the country before) compared to 10% who said this last year.

ABTA has identified its ’12 Destinations to watch’ for 2016, a mixture of destinations that are expected to capture the public’s imagination in 2016, these are:

  Abu Dhabi
  Canada
  China – the Silk Road
  France
  Hawaii (USA)
  Iceland
  Iran
  Naples and Apulia (Italy)
  Peru
  Poland
  Queensland (Australia)
  Sri Lanka

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Key trends identified in ABTA’s Travel Trends Report 2016 include:

1. West is best – a return to the western Mediterranean

Western Mediterranean destinations, in particular Spain, are set for a bumper year with bookings for summer 2016 tracking ahead of previous years as 2015 comes to a close. These destinations have been the main beneficiary of a shift towards tried and trusted destinations, with the combination of geopolitical uncertainty and a favourable exchange rate with the Euro prompting British holidaymakers to visit their old favourites in even greater numbers.

2. The ‘holiday-haves’ splash the cash

Almost four in ten (39%) people with top jobs (in social grade A[1]) say they are planning to spend more on holidays in 2016, compared to an average of 23%. People in social grade B are also more likely than average to spend more next year with 27% stating that they plan to do this. Last year, the ‘holiday-haves’, those classified as social grade A, took an average of 8.0 holidays per person, up from 7.4 holidays per person in 2011 and this group looks set to continue to drive growth in the holiday market in 2016.

3. Destination transformation and gentrification

Perhaps inspired by past successful transformations of Miami’s South Beach and Barcelona, destinations are repositioning in order to attract specific markets and this is expected to be a key trend for 2016. A high profile example of this trend is Magaluf, which in 2015 introduced new laws and worked with hotel groups to open hotels aimed at a more affluent and more family oriented market.

4. Love for long haul

Long haul holidays are no longer the preserve of the intrepid traveller. Wider availability of new aircraft, such as Boeing’s Dreamliner and the Airbus A380 is also making long haul travel more attractive, as is the abolition of Air Passenger Duty (APD) bands C and D in April 2015, which is expected to save British holidaymakers £200m a year.

5. Intrepid over 55s

According to ABTA Members, older holidaymakers are travelling further and are seeking more active or adventurous holidays. New adventure holidays are planned for 2016 to meet demand from customers who ‘grew up in the 1960s and have seen it all’.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “As we look ahead to 2016, it is exciting to reveal our ’12 Destinations to watch’. It is always inspiring to see the incredible range of destinations and holidays available to people, trends in the rest of the market are also encouraging and show the ability of the travel industry to evolve and innovate to meet customer demand.”

In the report, country-specific travel advice has been provided by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office to ensure Brits travelling abroad next year remain safe.

John Heppenstall, Head of Consular Campaigns at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, said: “ABTA’s report, which suggests that more British people will travel to a country that is new to them in 2016, acts as a reminder of the importance of preparing fully before travelling abroad.

“Simple steps such as taking out comprehensive travel insurance and researching your destination can make the difference between a holiday to remember and one to forget.

“The vast majority of people who travel abroad enjoy trouble-free trips, but for those who do encounter difficulties our consular staff are there to offer support.” Added Heppenstall.

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