ABTA’s Travel Trends Report 2019, based on market information and consumer insights, reveals five key trends expected to shape holiday choices in 2019. It also identifies that, despite political uncertainty, people are committed to taking holidays.
Moreover, the findings released, highlights that responsible tourism is now becoming an increasingly significant consideration when booking a holiday. According to the annual report, 45% of people say the sustainability credentials of their travel provider are important when booking a holiday this year, which has almost doubled over the last four years (24% in 2014).
Responsible tourism goes mainstream
The number of sustainability issues has moved further into the public’s consciousness with much greater awareness of the impact of plastics on local communities.
The uplift in awareness is also reflected in holidaymakers attitudes to companies; over a third (36%) of people would opt for one travel business over another if they have a better environmental record — up 13% since 2014 (23%).
Responsible tourism is becoming an integral part of business decisions and planning, with many companies announcing plans to make holidays more sustainable in the long term.
Examples include TUI, Intrepid and G Adventures, who have recently announced plans to further support the local economy and local workers in the destinations they travel to. Thomas Cook is looking to remove 70 million pieces of single-use plastics within the next 12 months and Eurostar is targeting a 50% reduction in plastics by 2020.
The resurgence of the trusted travel expert
One of the main reasons holidaymakers book with a travel professional is because they feel more confident doing so (45%) and Travel Trends 2019 looks into the demand for personal, tailored and expert travel advice.
In an age of limitless choice and information, the service travel professionals provide is highly valued — offering a few well-selected holidays which meet the customer’s specific requirements.
Travel companies such as Hays Travel and Barrhead Travel have announced an increase in stores, cruise companies are using travel agents more and more in recognition of the critical part they play in selling cruises and there has a strong uplift in travel professional homeworkers.
People committed to holidays with Europe at the top spot
Travel Trends 2019 also reveals that, despite the unprecedented political turbulence and uncertainty of the past year, Britons are firmly committed to taking holidays, with forward bookings for Summer 2019 up 12% on this time last year.
Europe tops the list of places people plan to travel to in the next 12 months, with 61% planning to take a trip to the continent next year. For example, Bulgaria and Greece are set to perform well with an increase in bookings for Summer 2019 of 30% and 6%, respectively.
The desire to get a ‘value-for-money break’ is a growing priority due to stretched household budgets and the continued weak Pound. Package holidays are likely to prove a popular choice in the search for good value after three in five (60%) people said they booked a package this year because it was the best option for the price.
“Sustainability issues are now firmly in the minds of holidaymakers”
Mark Tanzer, ABTA’s chief executive, concluded: “Sustainability issues are now firmly in the minds of holidaymakers, our research shows people are increasingly conscious of the positive influence they can have through their holiday booking choices and are more mindful of the actions they take.
“We expect these factors to further inform where and how they holiday next year. The travel industry has been working across a range of sustainability issues for some time now and continue to develop plans and initiatives which support local communities, their economies and the environment.
“With four months to go until we leave the EU, Brexit is getting closer yet the political process is still ongoing. Despite the uncertainty, early indications show people are still booking holidays, reflecting people’s strong commitment and desire to travel.”