According to research by Tourism Intelligence International, you cannot frighten and pin down the British.“Britons are the hardiest and most terrorist resistant travellers in the world,” said Dr. Auliana Poon during World Travel Market at ExCeL London.
“We did an investigation into how the Japanese, the Germans and the Americans and British responded to terrorism.
“We did a study on the impact on tourism in the build up to the outbreak of the Gulf War.
“Six months before it started the Japanese and Americans stopped travelling; with the Germans it was five months and for the British it was down to three months. How long did it take for the same amount of travellers to start up travelling after the war? The result was incredible. Within eight months everything was back to normal for the British travellers. The Germans took 11 months and the Americans took nearly two years.
“The British are hardy. The Germans are determined; Americans cautious and the Japanese reserved.”
Poon, managing director of Tourism Intelligence International, added “For all of these reasons it is really safe to bet on the British market. You cannot go wrong. It is key to the rest of the world.
“There are radical changes in a transforming market and the way the public buy, take and book holidays.
“Who is the new British traveller? How do they think and behave?
“There is an un-packaging of the traditional holiday. It is changing from old to new tourism. We think Britain is driving this trend. The old style was driven by sun-lust tourists. It was mass, standardised and rigidly packaged and, most importantly, affordable.
“Fundamental differences include the Internet, low-cost airlines, seat-only sales and these make it possible for people to buy travel without the package.
“The British travellers are fiercely independent, experienced, mature and demanding with an enormous appetite for it.
“The same mass destinations that applied for packaged holidays are still today the leading ones for independent travellers - France and Spain within Europe. They sometimes use the package experience as a launch pad for much more individual activities.
“The market is increasingly inclined to seek out new destinations. The technology makes the customised holiday cost effective. The old way of doing business penalised you for being an individual.
“The travellers of the future having the holiday of a lifetime are not interested in going somewhere and taking a photograph. They want to participate, want to be part of the experience. We have seen a move from bargain hunting to value seeking. “
Poon believes that: “Understanding the British market is the key to every other travel market.
“Firstly, it is huge. By 2010 we estimate the population will reach 75 million. It is the third largest travel market in the world, the second biggest time share and second highest and fastest growing cruise market.
“The British economy continues to be one of the brightest spots in Europe; the British have paid leave and it is socially acceptable to take holidays, unlike with the Japanese and Americans.
“The growth has been phenomenal and the market is also dynamic. It has consistently outpaced the growth of world tourism since the 1970s. It is faster than the world average.
“It has access to more flights and more destinations than any other country in the world.”