Tuesday, October 17, 2017
   
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Highest Proportion of UK Population in Six Years Holidaying Overseas

Brexit - what Brexit? The highest number of average overseas holidays taken per person since 2011 and the largest proportion of the UK population taking a holiday since 2011, are just two of new stand-out figures released by ABTA despite the uncertainty of the Brexit effect on travel.

ABTA's new research reveals that the average number of holidays taken per person per year has grown to 3.8, an increase of 0.4 on last year.

This is the highest number of holidays taken per person in the last five years and almost equal to numbers seen in 2011 (3.9). The average number of overseas holidays has bounced back to the 2015 figure of 1.7 per year, having dropped to 1.4 in 2016. Breaks in the UK have remained steady after a very successful 2016.

ABTA's Holiday Habits Report 2017 also reveals that, in the 12 months to August 2017, 87 per cent of British people took a holiday either at home or abroad. This is the largest proportion of the UK population taking a holiday since 2011, and maintains the significant growth from 2015 when only 77 per cent did so.

Following the soaring popularity of Western Mediterranean destinations in the past two years, and a weaker pound impacting spending power abroad, it appears that a savvier breed of holidaymaker has emerged. Whilst people are taking more holidays, they are thinking more carefully about how they spend their money and planning ahead to get the holiday they want.

Over a quarter (26 per cent) of holidaymakers are booking earlier, up from one in five (21 per cent) in 2016. Cheaper prices/better deals was given as the number one reason for doing this by 59 per cent of early bookers, followed by more chance of availability (45 per cent).

Spend while on shorter breaks overseas has decreased to £285 per person from £301 in 2016. However, on longer breaks overseas, it has increased slightly by 9% from £537 last year to £586 this year.

There has also been a significant increase in people planning to spend more on their holidays in the next year. Almost a third of people (31%) are planning to spend more, a notable increase on last year (24 per cent) and the number one reason is to ensure they get their first choice of destination.

Only 14 per cent of people expect to spend less, compared to 16 per cent last year, whilst just under a half (47 per cent) expect to spend the same. Millennials are the group most likely to spend more, with 39 per cent of those aged 25-34 and 34 per cent of 18-24 year olds stating this.

The survey also asked people what impact they thought Brexit might have on their holiday-taking over the next 12 months. Despite confusion, with only one in five (19 per cent) people feeling well-informed about the implications of leaving the EU on their holidays, British holidaymakers are committed to holidaying overseas, with almost two-thirds (63 per cent) still planning to travel to Europe in the next 12 months.

City breaks overtook beach holidays to become the nation’s favourite holiday type in 2014, a position they have held since then. Over half the population (53 per cent) have taken one in the past 12 months, and similar numbers are planning to take one in the next 12 months.

The number of people taking a beach holiday fell last year to 38 per cent, following changes to Foreign Office advice to Tunisia and Sharm el Sheikh as well as stretched capacity in the Western Mediterranean.

However, this number has risen to 41 per cent in 2017, as travel companies have sought to add capacity in popular destinations. Nearly half (47 per cent) of people are planning to take a beach holiday in the next 12 months, suggesting this trend may continue.

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