A survey released today by global travel deals publisher Travelzoo¬†reveals the falling value of the British pound, combined with concerns over security,¬†will affect leisure travel over the British academic half term break.
Although 33% of Britons are planning¬†half term breaks next week, 22% say they are avoiding some European destinations.
The Travelzoo¬ģ Autumn 2016 Travel Trends survey* also explores consumer sentiment around¬†security measures, with 26% of Britons saying they have noticed extra security measures when¬†travelling this year and 54% prepared to undergo further security checks to improve security. 46% say¬†they‚Äôre happy to give up biometric data, such as fingerprints and retina scans, while 28% are willing to¬†accept longer queues and delays, in exchange for improved security.
The UK consumer appetite for holidays remains stable, and hotspots such as Spain and France¬†continue to be the favoured European holiday destinations in spite of the weakened pound. Spain¬†continues to be the top overseas destination this half term ‚Ä" with the Canaries in particular performing¬†strongly with the British outbound leisure traveller. Other key trends from the survey show the growing¬†popularity of long-haul holidays, with Canada and Australia named joint second along with France as¬†the most popular destinations.
When asked about the impact of recent events on their destination choice, 41% say they are now¬†actively avoiding destinations impacted by terrorist attacks (with North African coastal destinations most¬†affected) and 34% say they are more likely to holiday in the UK. 11% say they are more likely to book¬†an all-inclusive package when travelling to Europe to ensure they get the best possible value for money¬†while the pound continues to be unstable.
Richard Singer, Travelzoo‚Äôs President, Europe and industry commentator, said, ‚ÄúAs we approach the¬†last few months of 2016, we can see that there are many factors impacting the desire to travel to what,¬†just two years ago, were some of the top autumn and winter destinations. The situation right now could¬†be described as a perfect storm.
We have increased pressure on the price of European holidays,¬†caused by the falling value of the pound, combined with two of the key affordable destinations (Sharm¬†el Sheikh and Tunisia) continuing to be off the menu for British holidaymakers. Looking outside Europe,¬†destinations popular with Britons continue to suffer from the impact of Zika virus. When we put all of¬†these factors together, it‚Äôs understandable that consumers more than ever need guidance on where to¬†book their next holiday.‚ÄĚ¬†
Singer continued, ‚ÄúSpeaking to the many travel companies Travelzoo works with, we know October half¬†term bookings have been fairly stable. However there is definitely concern in the market about¬†Christmas and February half term, where we expect to see the true impact of Brexit and other global¬†events. We predict the Canaries will maintain their status as the top destination, but consumers should¬†bear in mind there are other destinations that could offer better value in the coming months. Gibraltar,¬†Jordan, Muscat, Morocco, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the other Emirates are all looking strong in terms of¬†value for money right now.‚ÄĚ¬†
In terms of Europe and the Brexit negotiations, Singer said, ‚ÄúRegarding the falling value of the pound,¬†we are already seeing an increase in demand for all-inclusive European holidays. In order to regain¬†some stability in the region, we urge Theresa May to provide reassurance that travel negotiations with¬†Europe ‚Ä" particularly around the European Health Insurance Card and European open airspace ‚Ä" are¬†high on the agenda.‚ÄĚ
About the research
*The survey for Travelzoo‚Äôs 2016 Travel Trends report was conducted with an online questionnaire by¬†third-party research agency Atomik. The questionnaire was completed by 2,003 consumers in the UK.Travelzoo also worked with key trade partners and clients in the UK to assess market sentiment¬†regarding travel in the coming six months.