24 May

ABTA urges people not to leave it too late to book popular destinations

Two thirds of people planning a summer holiday have already booked as Western Mediterranean destinations surge in popularity

Almost two thirds (65%)* of people who are planning to take a summer holiday this year have already booked, with 35% yet to book, according to the latest research from ABTA – The Travel Association.

ABTA is urging those who plan to go away not to leave it too late to book as travel industry figures** show a significant increase in popularity of Western Mediterranean, with notable increases in bookings to popular holiday destinations including Spain (26%) Portugal (29%) and Cyprus (18%).

Research suggests that those leaving it late are not bargain hunters. When those planning a holiday but have not yet booked it were asked why they had not yet booked their holiday, waiting for a last minute bargain was way down on the list with 15% people giving this as a reason. Personal finance and personal circumstances (e.g. family illness) topped the list of given reasons why Brits are planning a holiday but have not yet booked it.

Reasons why those who are planning on going on holiday haven’t booked yet:

Personal finances 22%
Personal circumstances (e.g. family illness) 22%
I haven’t had the time 20%
I never book my holiday this early 18%
Work commitments 16%
I'm waiting for a last minute bargain 15%

Availability and booking options

A drop in business to traditionally popular destinations like Tunisia and Egypt, following high profile terrorist incidents and changes to Foreign Office travel advice, has driven a growth in popularity to the Western Mediterranean in particular. Holidaymakers leaving it late to book may find it more difficult than usual to secure their first choice destination or dates.

There is still some availability in Greece although holidaymakers are advised to be flexible over dates and islands. A general drop in visitor numbers to Turkey also makes it a good option for late bookers.

Holidaymakers are advised to consider alternative destinations such as areas, cities and resorts within popular destinations, such as the northern coasts of Spain and Portugal and cities further inland. People are also looking toward Eastern European destinations including Croatia and Bulgaria for their summer holiday. Holidaymakers should also consider traveling outside of the peak summer months of July and August with the weather around the Mediterranean remaining good until well into October and often beyond. 

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said: “We are seeing a significant increase in summer holiday bookings to Western Mediterranean destinations so I would urge holidaymakers who are looking to travel, not to delay in making their booking. My advice to those who have left it late is to be flexible when making their booking and seek the advice of a travel professional who will be able to advise them on the best options and destinations still available, as well as recommending less well known and less crowded areas.”

* All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc.  Total sample size was 1,692 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 9th - 10th May 2016.  The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

** GfK’s Leisure Travel Monitor (LTM) Figures relate to total forward summer 2016 holiday bookings, April 2016