ABTA packages up holiday choices

by Steve Hartridge

ABTA’s Travel Trends 2020 report reveals that nearly nine out of 10 Brits took a holiday this year, with package holidays proving an enduring choice despite the demise of one its biggest exponents in 2019.

This was also the year when ‘slow travel’, sustainability issues and concern for the environment also took a hold and started to impact on customer choice when booking holidays, with 62% of people wanting to book a holiday that helped or gave something back to the local community.

In 2020 destinations likely to be in vogue among consumers include Grenada, Chicago and Lake Michigan, Morocco, Namibia, Singapore, South Korea and Uruguay.

These were among the key findings of ABTA’s Travel Trends 2020 report, released this week at a trade event at London’s Marylebone Hotel.

After experiencing a challenging few years due mainly to fear of terrorist attacks in popular destinations, and despite the biggest company failure in UK travel history this year with the collapse of Thomas Cook, 2019 was notable for a range of excellent-value package holidays to destinations including Turkey and Egypt - which both saw double-digit growth –Mainland Spain, the Balearics, Greece and Italy.

ABTA noted that the package holiday’s ability to evolve and now with the flexibility to personalise and even design a completely tailor-made experience is key to its continued popularity.

Looking ahead to 2020, ABTA’s research shows that 27% of people plan to spend more on their holiday in 2020, mainly to ‘secure the destination of their choice and secure the trip of a lifetime’.

“With so many political uncertainties ahead… it is difficult to predict with certainty what 2020 will bring – however, we do know that travel is still a spending priority for the year ahead,” said Mark Tanker, ABTA’s Chief Executive

Sustainability issues will also ‘go mainstream’ in 2020, predicted Tanzer.

“There is a clear and increasing appetite to understand the environmental impacts of travel and tourism. Tourism can be a tremendous force for good, although impacts on destinations, their natural environment, economies and communities need to be managed’” he noted.

Seven in 10 people (70%) say they are planning a trip abroad, with 57% targeting a European holiday.

Domestic tourism is also on the rise, with Visit England reporting a record-breaking number of trips (35 million overnights) from January to July this year, up 2% on the same period in 2018.

This tend looks set to continue in 2020, with 56% of those asked claiming to be planning a UK break.

ABTA also revealed a list of 12 ‘destinations to watch’ in 2020.

Presented alphabetically by Emily Jones, ABTA’s Media and PR Manager, these ranged from Basilicata in southern Italy – “a different side to Italy which travellers are now discovering” - to Vienna “a beautiful city that will celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of Beethoven next year”.

The other destinations to make the list were: Chicago and Lake Michigan, Georgia, Grenada, Madrid, Morocco, Namibia, South Korea, Singapore, The Netherlands and Uruguay.  and Vienna.

Outgoing Brand and Business Development Director Victoria Bacon said the top 12 chart was compiled after ABTA approached ABTA members to ask them which destinations were “in demand and trending”.


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