by Ben Ross, The Telegraph, October 10, 2017
The average number of holidays taken per person rose to the highest levels since 2011 this year, despite the challenges posed by terrorism, the weaker pound and uncertainty over Brexit.
British travellers booked an average of 3.8 holidays, an increase of 0.4 since last year, with almost 9 in 10 British people taking at least one holiday at home or abroad in the 12 months to August 2017.
New research released by Abta, the travel association, also shows that families and the over-65s are among Britain’s top holidaymakers. Abta’s annual Holiday Habits Report reveals that people with older families (children over the age of five) took the most trips, booking an average of 4.5, with the majority of their holidays taken in the UK.
The over-65s, meanwhile, made the most of their greater spending power by taking the most holidays abroad (two per year). The Office of National Statistics (ONS) has reported that retired household incomes “have soared in recent years”, and some of this new-found wealth is clearly being channelled into the holiday market.
Mark Tanzer, Abta Chief Executive, commented: “Our findings generally show a positive picture of holiday-taking. We know that there are notable variations in household income across different groups, so while the retired are enjoying more holidays thanks to greater spending power, it suggests that the youngest age group, in particular, is feeling the pitch.”
Those aged 18-24 saw the biggest drop-off. In 2015, they took 4.5 holidays a year, but this fell to just 3.6 in the 12 months to August 2017 as wage constraints in the UK force “generation rent” to operate on ever-tighter budgets.
Despite the uncertainties over Brexit, British travellers are apparently still committed to travelling to Europe for their holidays next year. Only one in five people claimed to feel well informed about the implications of Brexit on future holiday bookings, reflecting the uncertainties that still exist over Britain’s future relationship with EU countries. However, 63 per cent of those surveyed said that they nevertheless planned to travel to Europe next year.
One in three also expected holiday prices to rise, demonstrating concerns over the weaker pound in the wake of the Brexit vote as well as rising holiday prices in the Western Mediterranean, the result of travel operators shifting inventory away from Turkey and Egypt following terrorist attacks in recent years.