26 Nov

ABTA launches Travel Trends Report 2020

  • Consumer sentiment positive for the year ahead
  • Packages expected to maintain appeal
  • Top trends include ‘slow travel’ and digital customer service 

The findings from ABTA’s Travel Trends 2020 report, released today, highlight that despite the political context consumer sentiment is positive when it comes to holiday-taking. ABTA research shows that travel is a spending priority for the year ahead, with over a quarter of people (27%) planning to spend more on their holiday, up from 25% who said the same last year1.

After a strong year in 2019, the package holiday also looks set to maintain its appeal in 2020 – with value for money expected to be one of the main reasons for choosing this type of holiday.

Europe still tops the list of places people intend to travel to in the next 12 months, with almost two-thirds of people (57%) planning to visit. Closer to home, following a record-breaking number of overnight trips from January to July 2019, domestic holidays are expected to perform well once more in the year ahead2.

The Travel Trends 2020 report is based on market information and consumer insights, highlighting ABTA’s “12 destinations to watch” and revealing five key trends expected to shape holiday choices in 2020 – which include the desire for ‘slow travel’ and digital customer service.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said:

“With so many political uncertainties ahead, such as the shape of the new government and the outcome of the Brexit process, it is difficult to predict with certainty what 2020 will bring – however, we do know that travel is still a spending priority for the year ahead. 

“In last year’s report, we also predicted that 2019 would be the year that sustainability issues would go mainstream and that has proved to be the case, with a spotlight thrown on climate change in particular. Sustainability issues are now firmly in the minds of holidaymakers and are a continued thread throughout the report – from cruise industry initiatives to influencing three of our five trends. The travel industry continues to develop plans and initiatives which support local communities, their economies and the environment, so that tourism is a benefit to everyone.”

The five key trends that feature in ABTA’s Travel Trends 2020 report are:

  • The rise of ‘slow travel’
    An emerging trend is seeing holidaymakers choosing to slow down the tempo and experience destinations on a deeper level – making more genuine connections with local people and cultures along the way. “Slow travel” is as much about enjoying the journey as it is the destination, and a less packed itinerary takes the pressure off having to visit all the usual tourist hotspots. With more time in one destination, it can potentially reduce the journey footprint and provide travellers with the chance to support more locally run businesses – resulting in a positive impact on the local economy and community. 
  • Travel agents rising to the demand for digital customer service
    Holidaymakers are seeking a variety of ways to get support during the online booking process. Many travel companies, including TUI, Hays Travel and Travel Counsellors are adopting a multi-channel approach to personalise their service for customers – including building specialist social media customer service teams, announcing multi-million pound technology upgrades and speaking directly to them via messenger apps.
  • Increased focus on the specific impacts of tourism
    Consumers are increasingly aware of the environmental and social impact of their holidays. And following years of rising concern over specific issues such as animal welfare and plastic, climate change has progressed further into consumers’ consciousness. There is an increased call to demonstrate the value tourism brings and the positive impacts it can have and ABTA is committed to working with its Members, their suppliers, travellers and destination governments, including the UK government, to build a sustainable industry and that tourism is a benefit to everyone.
  • Touring gets the personalised treatment
    Travel companies are developing new types of flexible and immersive touring products. From flexi-touring, to self-guided tours to personalised escorted touring – ABTA Members are catering to different preferences to ensure widespread appeal across different types of holidaymakers. This trend also applies to tour group demographics, with Intrepid Travel’s women-only tours becoming one of its fastest selling product ranges. 
  • Electric aviation takes flight
    The future of aviation is shifting towards electric powered aircraft, as advancements in technology and increasing demands for more sustainable modes of travel have made the concept of commercial electric flights a very real prospect for short haul travel. With aviation under increasing pressure to improve its carbon footprint, the future for electric aircraft looks bright, both for leisure and business travel.  

The “12 destinations to watch” are (in alphabetical order): Basilicata, Chicago and Lake Michigan, Georgia, Grenada, Madrid and its surrounding cities, Morocco, Namibia, South Korea, Singapore, The Netherlands, Uruguay and Vienna.

For further information, contact:
020 3117 0596 or press@abta.co.uk
Emily Jones, Media and PR Manager, tel: 020 3117 0592

Out of Hours:  Contact the Duty Press Officer via landline: 020 3693 0183
Web: www.abta.com
Twitter: @ABTAtravel

Notes to editors
The full report is available to download from abta.com/traveltrends2020.

ABTA Holiday Habits report 2019. Consumer research was conducted by The Nursery Research and Planning (formerly Arkenford, specialists in leisure and tourism research) https://www.the-nursery.net/. The ABTA Consumer Trends survey generated responses from a nationally representative sample of 2,043 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to July 2019. Fieldwork was conducted in July 2019.
2  According to VisitEngland 35 million overnight holidays were taken between July 2018 and July 2019 – up 2% on the same period last year. 

About ABTA
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 more than 4,300 travel brands in Membership, providing a wide range of leisure and business travel services, with a combined annual UK turnover of £39 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.