01 Feb

More British families seek adventure in travel

Africa and South America as well as Orlando, Dubai, Cancun and Barbados are on the list as families look at further flung destinations

9 out of 10 UK families1 are planning a holiday in 2020 and are looking to broaden their horizons this year as well as find greater adventure (from 6% in 2018 to 11%), according to research conducted by ABTA – The Travel Association.2

While classic beach and city holidays in Spain, Greece and France are still in greatest demand, ABTA Members report that families are responsible for driving longer haul bookings, particularly for destinations such as Orlando, Dubai, Cancun and Barbados. Looking for new experiences, families are varying the destinations they are visiting too, with visits to Africa and South America on the rise (from 8% and 7% respectively in 2018 to 13% and 11% in 2019).

Africa, Kenya and Botswana in particular are more popular amongst older families (50% and 46% respectively vs 19% and 17%). Whilst in South America, Peru and Brazil are attracting younger families (18% and 28% respectively vs 9% and 15%).

Young families at the same time are showing greater enthusiasm for cruise, which has grown in popularity by 10% in the last four years.3 Many cruise ships today are being built with multigenerational travel in mind – family cabins, water parks, theatres and game areas are all now more commonplace on modern ships. 

When it comes to sustainable travel, families are taking a greater interest too. How animals are treated is their highest concern (66%), with families viewing and interacting with animals, either in captivity or in the wild, more so than any other demographic.4 Responding to these concerns, ABTA has recently launched the second edition of its Animal Welfare.

Guidelines with new unacceptable practices such as contact or feeding of elephants without a barrier, including riding and bathing elephants. 

Other top concerns for families are nature conservation (63%) and preservation of culture and heritage (61%).

The findings also show an increased reliance on technology for support during the booking process. Families increasingly welcome the efficiency and convenience of using the internet to get support for travel arrangements. The number of families booking online has increased in the last year (from 80% to 85%) and, while doing so, they are the most likely holidaymakers to use the help of a chat/messenger service on a travel company’s website, more than double the average figure (24% vs 11% average). 

In the last five years, families’ use of social media throughout the booking process has more than quadrupled (from 3% to 13%), making them leaders in this trend, way ahead of the 7% average.  

Victoria Bacon, ABTA’s Director of Brand and Business Development, said:

“With the February half-term and Easter holidays approaching, many households will be looking ahead and planning a memory-making getaway, and now is a great moment to book as there are an abundance of deals and offers available for families. 

“By booking with an ABTA Member and travel professional, families can trust that they will get an unforgettable experience when considering something new. More travel agents and operators are also using technology to make the whole process as easy and stress free as possible.”

Child psychologist Dr Amanda Gummer, from Good Play Guide, said: 

“Our own research on family travel suggests families are looking for a stress-free process - including support when booking and in destination. 

"It's also great to see that families are fostering children's sense of wonder and adventure while discovering new things in new places - nearby or in far flung destinations, because it promotes tolerance and a wider perspective on life. Further to this, a culturally rich and entertaining holiday such as a cruise offers an engaging, yet safe environment where the whole family can relax and have fun.”

Holidaymakers who book with an ABTA Member can travel with confidence and have access to the support, protection and expertise provided by ABTA. You can find an ABTA Member by visiting abta.com/findamember.

For further information, please contact:
020 3117 0596 or press@abta.co.uk
Natasha Sá Osório, Senior Media Relations Executive, tel.: 020 3117 0531
Out of Hours: contact the duty press officer on 020 3693 0183
Web: www.abta.com
Twitter: @ABTAtravel

Notes to editors
1 For the purpose of this study, ‘family’ describes respondents who have children living at home with them regardless of adult composition. It could be a single parent, same sex couple, foster parent, grandparents caring for children (as long as they live with them), for example. When relevant, this demographic has been split between young families (those with one or more children below the age of five) and older families (with children aged 6-17 but none younger). Other life stages considered for comparison purpose of this study are people under 45 with no kids at home and over 45 with no kids at home. 

2 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.

3 Figures from our yearly surveys show a steady growth of interest between 2015 (42%) and 2019 (52%). Consumer research was conducted by The Nursery Research and Planning (formerly Arkenford, specialists in leisure and tourism research) https://www.the-nursery.net/.

4 Families: 40%; under 45 with no kids at home: 27%; over 45 with no kids at home: 21%. Average: 27%. 

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.

About Dr Gummer’s Good Play Guide
Dr Gummer’s Good Play Guide is the UK’s leading source of expert, independent advice on play and child development, offering a range of services to support children’s industries. Founded by child psychologist, Dr Amanda Gummer, the company is also the home of the Good Toy Guide and Good App Guide. 

The Good Play Guide’s family-friendly team of professionals have a deep understanding of children and are passionate about the importance of play in healthy childhoods. The team goes above and beyond to champion great children's products using a wide range of skills to make a difference. Whether that is to shout about products in the media, design user testing to help turn good ideas into great products or share knowledge and passion with their audience.