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Brits Continue Their Love Affair with the Package Holiday

ABTA has revealed in a recent study into UK consumers’ travel habits that package holidays continue to “dominate” the UK overseas holiday market.

The study, which examines changing trends over the last four decades, found that packages still account for half of all holidays, despite the emergence of other types of travel.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive Officer, also suggested that we could foresee a rise in the number of package holidays in 2019, thanks to the recent introduction of the package travel regulations (PTRs).

“The UK continues to be a nation in love with the foreign holiday as tens of millions of people head abroad each year, and package holidays still dominate a large proportion of the travel market,” said Tanzer.

“With the introduction of the new PTRs last year, more travel arrangements this summer are likely to be package holidays – offering customers the best form of protection.”

Changing Preferences

The report also noted, however, that the type of trip, destination and how consumers holiday has changed significantly, and travel companies have taken note by responding to holidaymakers’ changing preferences.  More and more travel companies are now offering packages that include tailor-made trips, tours that take people off the beaten track, adventure holidays, river and ocean cruises, well-being breaks and all-inclusives.

Furthermore, while in the past many travellers chose to book a holiday based on where their friends or family had previously visited, now the focus is on finding resorts/ destinations that are less popular and more unusual. Similarly, it would appear that Brits are no longer attracted to the idea of picking a “home-from-home” destination – Britain with nicer weather – but are instead opting for more “authentic” experiences which embrace the local culture.

In terms of destinations, the report found that while the number of visits to traditional package destinations such as Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, Greece, Cyprus and Malta remain strong, the modern traveller is also willing to go further afield.

Mexico, for example, has seen a 3,500% increase in UK holidaymakers since 1994 as increased capacity in the airline industry and more fuel-efficient aircrafts make long-haul flights more manageable for modern travellers.

Tanzer added: “Holidaymakers’ tastes are continually evolving, and the travel industry is adapting to the changing demands of customers; whether you want a two-week cruise around the Caribbean, a cultural city break to Cadiz, a tailor-made trip to Mexico or seven days in the Costa del Sol, all of these options can be provided via a package holiday.”

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