ABTA has released its Travel Trends Report 2012, developed in association with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, predicting that holidaymakers will be seeking value for money but not necessarily the cheapest holiday.
While the mid-market is expected to be squeezed, holidays that offer an authentic or specialist experience, and luxury and all-inclusive breaks, are all set to be popular.
Mark Tanzer ABTA Chief Executive said: “2011 has been a challenging year but the British public showed resilience when it came to their holidays and we expect a similar picture in 2012. The squeeze on household spending looks set to continue and this is likely to see holidaymakers become more discerning about where they spend their money and what they get for it. This presents a good opportunity for travel companies to offer tailored, specialist and authentic experiences, as well as all-inclusive packages for the budget conscious, that provide great value for money.”
Some key trends ABTA has identified:
• Growth in demand for specialist holidays. Cruising, adventure, exploration, learning and activity holidays are all expected to do well in 2012 as holidaymakers seek new experiences underpinned by value for money. Holidaymakers are also expected to seek out destinations that have a strong and authentic sense of location, in everything from food and setting to excursions and entertainment.
• Luxury and budget breaks expected to perform well. With the mid-market coming under the greatest pressure from reductions in household spending, strongest demand is expected to come from the budget and luxury markets in 2012,
• Baby boomers set to fuel the market. 10%* of over 55s took more than four foreign holidays in 2011 and this trend is set to continue.
• Changes afoot on the high street. High street bookings had a bit of a comeback in 2011; while consolidation saw overall shop numbers decline, bookings were up, with 25% of the public booking their foreign holiday on the high street compared to 17% in 2010*. In 2012 several major travel companies are expanding their high street presence and we can expect to see companies invest in improving the in-store experience.
• Tried and tested destinations likely to be popular. In times of economic uncertainty many people put their faith where they know best. Early booking figures for summer 2012 suggest that destinations such as France, Greece, Italy, Spain and the USA will all prove popular next year.
• More weddings abroad. One in five couples currently marry overseas with an average saving of £12,500 on a UK wedding; with pressures on budgets and a focus on value for money, many more couples are expected to say ‘I do’ abroad in 2012.
In the report ABTA has also identified its “hot destinations” for 2012. A mixture of long, mid and short haul destinations, they give a taste of both holiday favourites and countries offering something different in 2012, including: Jordan; Colombia; Cape Verde and Poland/Ukraine.
Lynda St Cooke from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “If you’re looking for a truly authentic travel experience then reading up on the local laws and customs before you go will help you get the best out of your trip. If you want to avoid potential pitfalls such as being arrested for something which isn’t illegal back home, being the victim of a local scam, or unwittingly causing offence to the locals, then checking out Foreign Office travel advice in advance is strongly recommended. Holidaymakers faced a number of issues in 2011 - from natural disasters to significant political events. We can’t always predict when crises will happen which is why British travellers need to be prepared for every eventuality when they go overseas - taking out travel insurance and telling someone back home exactly where you’re going is a good start.”