21 Oct

City breaks now as popular as beach holidays

Cruising and all-inclusives look set for growth next year

New ABTA research* released today reveals that 41% of the public have taken a city break and 41% a beach holiday in the 12 months to August 2013, either in the UK or overseas. Both types of break remain by far the most popular types of holiday but while beach holidays have seen a slight dip year on year, city breaks have increased in popularity now putting them on a par with beach holidays.

Table 1.1 - Top ten holiday types taken in 12 months to August 2013

Ranking Holiday type %
1. A city break 41
- A beach holiday 41
3. An all-inclusive holiday 15
4. Lakes and mountains 10
5. Trip to a music event  7
6. An activity or sporting holiday 6
- A coach holiday  6
- A train holiday 6
9 A cruise 5
10. A trip to a major sporting event 4

The biggest fans of city and beach breaks

25-34 year olds were the biggest fans of city breaks with nearly half (48%) taking a city break in the 12 months to August 2013, they were closely followed by 45-54 year olds (42%).  Beach holidays are popular across all age groups but particularly amongst younger holidaymakers with half of 16-24 year olds (53%) taking a beach holiday in the 12 months to August 2013 and 4 in 10 (44%) of 25-34 year olds.

16-24 year olds – the generation that likes variety

The younger generation take the most holidays per person (an average of 3.7 per person compared to an average of 3.1 for all age groups) and this is reflected in the variety of different holidays they take. They are the most likely to take an activity or sporting holiday at 12%, a well-being holiday at 9% and a winter sports holiday at 7%. One in ten (10%) also took a trip to see a music event in 2013 although this was equally as popular with 25-34 year olds, 11% of whom took this type of trip.

Positive outlook for 2014

Looking forward to 2014, the mood appears optimistic amongst consumers. Cruises look set to be popular with 10% considering a cruise, double the number who took a cruise in the 12 months to August 2013. All-inclusives are also popular, with one in five (21%) saying they may take an all-inclusive in 2014 compared to 15% who took one in the past twelve months. With a number of major sporting events in 2014, including the Ashes in Australia and football World Cup in Brazil, 7% of men say they are considering a trip to see one next year. But 2013’s most popular holiday choices are still set to top the table in 2014, with 44% saying they are considering taking a beach holiday and 43% a city break. 

Table 1.2 - Top ten types of holidays consumers are considering taking in 2014

Ranking Holiday type %
1. A beach holiday 44
2. A city break 43
3. An all-inclusive holiday 21
4. Lakes and mountains  13
5. A cruise 10
6. A train holiday 7
7. A coach holiday 6
- An activity or sporting holiday 6
9. A trip to a major sporting event 5
- An adventure or challenge holiday 5

Victoria Bacon, ABTA Head of Communications said “Although beach holidays and city breaks are our favourite types of holidays, the range of options and activities on offer for consumers grows year by year. It’s encouraging that so many consumers are also looking at other types of holiday for 2014, including cruise, coach, train and activity holidays. This offers great opportunities for travel agents and operators as they can provide tailored and differentiated products that might be more difficult and time consuming for consumers to research and book independently.”

*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 August 2013. Fieldwork was conducted in August 2013.