12 Jan

Dreams of holiday heat help consumers deal with cooling economy

  • ABTA Holiday Value Report predicts holidays will play a vital role in lifting the economy in 2009, with 66 per cent of the UK claiming a huge emotional high from a summer holiday
  • Almost 50 per cent believe the break from routine is a vital escape valve to credit crunch pressures
  • Brits rate value of summer holidays three times higher than pay rises
  • The ABTA Holiday Value Report, out today, has found that holidays will play a vital role in lifting the British economy, as well as British spirits, in 2009.

    The study shows that in spite of financial worries, summer holidays are three times more prized than pay rises, and that by booking and going on holiday this year we can collectively help lift the economy, as well as the spirits.

    “Having something to look forward to like a holiday often helps us focus more on current tasks,” said Psychotherapist and Life Coach Christine Webber, who developed the study.

    “Booking a holiday gives us an emotional lift that we’ve called ‘Sunticipation’.  It’s a feeling that lasts from the moment a holiday is booked to the first ray of sun on your face.  Crucially, ‘Sunticipation’ will help us all put up with the woes of winter and enable us to work harder at our jobs because we have the promise of sunshine and relaxation to come.”

    Emotional value

    “Holidays are not just about the two weeks away.  The feel-good impact is felt from the moment you start to pick a destination and, in these troubled times, the whole process offers welcome relief from the gloom,” continued Christine Webber.

    “The nation is suffering from collective stress at the moment – January is a particularly depressing month at the best of times - and holidays are one way of keeping the UK on an even keel. Everyone has to think long and hard about what they spend but holidays are still firmly in the family budget.”

    Holiday spending is a priority for Brits

    After a surge of early deals in the last couple of weeks from many of its members, ABTA is reporting positive levels of holiday bookings and footfall for the first half of January.  Egypt, Turkey and long-haul destinations such as Orlando, as well as cruises, are selling well.

    Their research shows that, despite the economic gloom, 68 per cent of the public are prepared to up their budget or spend the same as last year to ensure they have something to look forward to. Only nine per cent of people intend to leave their bookings to the last minute.

    “Holidays are important to people in different ways but the research is clear that holidays are a vital part of people's year and still will be this year despite the economic downturn,” said Casia Zajac, Head of Communications for ABTA.

    “Planning and anticipating a holiday can sustain people through the winter months and the bleak financial times that are upon us.

    “With the holiday being so crucial, it is important that they plan well and use reputable agents so they are not disappointed.  The best way to ensure your holiday happens without a glitch and you receive the highest level of service is to book with a travel company that is an ABTA member. For more travel advice, go to www.abta.com”

    Other findings in the ABTA Holiday Value Report include:

    • Almost 50 per cent of respondents said the break from every day worries and the opportunity to relax was the most important element of a holiday, eclipsing factors such as food, culture, sunbathing and gaining life experiences.
    • The summer holiday is the most prized annual purchase with 37 per cent above its nearest contender of a new car at 15 per cent. Only four per cent went for cosmetic surgery or beauty treatments.
    • Despite the economic gloom, 68 per cent of the public are prepared to up their holiday budget or spend the same as last year.
    • Bargain-hunting holidaymakers are still looking for the best deals. More than 50 per cent are happy to spend up to £500 on flights and accommodation, while eight per cent are prepared to pay above £1200.  
    • The average spend in 2009 will be £632.04, making an outlay above £2,500 for a family of four with 68 per cent anticipating spending the same or more than they did in 2008

    All statistics taken from a OnePoll survey of 2447 adults commissioned between December 24th 2008 and January 5th 2009.