Spike in package holidays and foreign travel may be ‘rare positive legacy of pandemic’
Foreign holidays are back with a bang with 45 per cent of people going abroad in the last year.
The latest study from travel agent association ABTA found the level of foreign travel in the last 12 months was equivalent to 70 per cent of that in 2019, pre pandemic.
With coronavirus restrictions lifted, a big chunk of the UK population seized on new-found freedom to get away for a bit of sun, with increasing numbers using travel agents and package holds.
Arranging travel through a professional or agent increased from the 2019 rate and package holidays also had a big spike, which ABTA’s chief executive said may “prove a rare positive legacy of the pandemic”.
There was a rise in the number of holidays using travel agents particularly for those with young families, with more than half of those with young children and 55 per cent of 25-24-year olds booking through a professional.
Package holidays proved to be the most popular type of holiday overseas, with 63 per cent opting for this, Almost 35 per cent said they chose it because of the value for money while just under 30 per cent said it was due to everything being taken care of.
In wake of the pandemic and the travel restrictions which have now been eased by many countries, the report outlines how covid-19 has impacted upon how holidaymakers arrange their plans.
Many now take more precautions with 71 per cent taking out good travel insurance, and almost 65 per cent now paying attention to terms and conditions.
The outlook also looks rosy in spite of a bleak domestic economic outlook. Foreign travel is likely here to stay with 60 per cent planning to go away in the next 12 months.
While the cost of living crisis remains a concern for millions, the ABTA report suggests holidays remain a priority, with people likely to cut back on non-essentials such as eating out, to the tune of 55 per cent, in order to go away instead.
Rising inflation and energy costs are likely to have an impact on people’s habits however, with 36 per cent of people likely to take fewer holidays, just under a third opting for a cheaper option, while just below a quarter plan to eat out less while abroad.
“The lifting of the UK’s travel rules this year unleashed a surge in overseas holidays” said Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive.
“With almost twice as many people travelling abroad in the six months from March to August 2022 .. than in the previous six months” he said it was “quite remarkable” that foreign holidays are back in wake of covid-induced drops in demand.
“We now face an uncertain year ahead given the cost of living challenges, but ABTA’s research suggests that we should continue to see an increase in foreign holidays next year and, encouragingly, many of our Members have also been reporting a high level of demand for bookings.”
In wake of coronavirus, he said “people have found comfort in the security of booking a package holiday and accessing the expertise of travel professionals” which, despite an unclear immediate future, may “prove a rare positive legacy of the pandemic”.