10 Oct

ABTA reveals average number of holidays taken in 2012

People would rather cut back on home improvements and eating out than on a holiday

New research from ABTA released today reveals that in 2012 UK consumers took an average of 3.51 holidays in the UK or overseas, a decrease from 3.82 in 2011 but up from 3.2 in 2010. Younger travellers bucked the trend with those aged 15-34 taking more breaks in 2012 than 2011.

Table 1.1 Average number of holidays taken

  2012 2011 2010
Average number of UK holidays taken 2.11 2.26 2.0
Average number of overseas holidays taken 1.4 1.56 1.2

The research also shows there is a significant number of consumers for whom a holiday is a necessity they cannot do without, with one in five [19%] feeling this way about a longer overseas holiday and one in ten [12%] for a longer holiday in the UK. Nearly a quarter (24%) of those aged over 65 say that a longer holiday overseas is a necessity they couldn’t do without.

Additionally, holidays came out on top as the item consumers would be most unwilling to cut back on; this is particularly true amongst women [see table 1.2 below]. Brits would rather cut back on other leisure activities, new electronic gadgets, home improvement and eating out throughout the year before they cut back on a holiday.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “It is clear that in the current economic climate, holidaymakers are being cautious about how they spend their holiday budget and the number of holidays that they take in a year.  In spite of this, it appears many Brits are determined not to give up their annual holiday. Many people consider their annual holiday a necessity, not a luxury and given the choice they would rather make sacrifices in other parts of their lives than pass up on their holidays.”

Table 1.2 Which of the following would you be most unwilling to cut back on?

  Total Men Women
A holiday 35% 32% 38%
Leisure Activities 18% 21% 15%
New electronic gadgets 18% 17% 18%
Home improvement  15% 16% 15%
Eating out throughout the year     14% 14% 14%

The weather is the main factor that drives Britons’ love of overseas holidays, with almost one in four people [23%] saying their main reason for taking an overseas holiday is to get some sunshine; twice as many as saying they go overseas to experience a new culture or food [12%]. When asked about their attitudes towards taking holidays in the UK, the main reason, cited by a third [33%] of respondents is to relax.

*Consumer research was conducted by Arkenford Ltd (www.arkenford.co.uk) who specialise in tourism and leisure market research. The ABTA Consumer Trends survey generated response from a nationally representative sample of 2008 consumers using an online research methodology and related to holiday booking habits in the 12 months to September 2012. Fieldwork was conducted in September 2012.