More than two-fifths (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)1.
The findings are published as part of ABTA’s Travel Trends 2019 report, released today, which highlights that responsible tourism is now becoming an increasingly significant consideration when booking a holiday.
Travel Trends 2019 is based on market information and consumer insights, revealing five key trends expected to shape holiday choices in 2019 and highlighting ABTA’s “12 destinations to watch”. It also identifies that, despite political uncertainty, people are committed to taking holidays and the desire to get a value-for-money break is also expected to influence holiday decisions over the next 12 months.
Responsible tourism goes mainstream
This past year has seen a number of sustainability issues move further into the public's consciousness - with much greater awareness of the impact of plastics on the environment on tourism’s impact 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%)2.
Responsible tourism has risen further up the agenda and 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 to3. 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.
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%)4 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 – so all in all, it looks like the trusted travel expert has a bright future.
People committed to holidays with Europe 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 12% up on this time last year5.
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%, respectively6.
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.
Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said:
“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.”
Additional key trends that feature in ABTA’s Travel Trends 2019 report are:
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Notes to editors
The full report is available to download from abta.com/traveltrends2019.
1,2 ABTA Consumer Trends survey (2014 and 2018), Arkenford.
3 G Adventures recently introduced a ‘Ripple Score’ tool which shows what percentage of a tour's local spend remains in the local economy. TUI has pledged to deliver 10 million ‘greener and fairer’ holidays by 2020, enabling more local people to share in the benefits of tourism. And Intrepid is supporting small local businesses to benefit from tourism, for example, travellers can visit one of the poorest regions of Myanmar and contribute to local businesses in a responsibly managed way.
4 ABTA Holiday Habits 2018
5, 6 Data sourced from GfK’s Travel Insights service. Travel Insights is a point of sale service measuring transactional booking data from tour operators and travel agents for outbound leisure travel from the UK.
7 Global Wellness Institute report, November 2018
ABTA has been a trusted travel brand for over 65 years. Our purpose is to help our Members to grow their businesses successfully and sustainably, and to help their customers travel with confidence.
The ABTA brand stands for support, protection and expertise. This means consumers have confidence in ABTA and a strong trust in ABTA Members. These qualities are core to us as they ensure that holidaymakers remain confident in the holiday products that they buy from our Members.
We help our Members and their customers navigate through today's changing travel landscape by raising standards in the industry; offering schemes of financial protection; providing an independent complaints resolution service should something go wrong; giving guidance on issues from sustainability to health and safety and by presenting a united voice to government to ensure the industry and the public get a fair deal.
ABTA has around 1,200 Members, with a combined annual UK turnover of £38 billion. For more details about what we do, what being an ABTA Member means and how we help the British public travel with confidence visit www.abta.com.