The latest ONS figures for travel were published recently, reporting 72.8 million visits abroad by UK residents in 2017, an increase of 3% when compared with 2016.
Industry figures for summer 2018 are also encouraging - bookings for package holidays and accommodation are up 6% on this time last year. These figures have been pretty much consistent throughout the year with many people choosing to book their holidays in advance - securing their place in the sun, or whatever their summer break may entail.
Much has already been made of the ‘return’ of Eastern Mediterranean destinations including Turkey, Egypt and Tunisia, with an increase in bookings across all three. And it’s likely we’ll see this trend continue into 2019.
While it is too early to assess the impact on bookings of the recent hot weather and England’s successful run in the World Cup, the overall figures to date are encouraging as they suggest people still want and continue to travel and that holidays are a spending priority.
As I discussed last week, it has also been a tumultuous two weeks in the UK political arena, following the Government’s publication of a Brexit White Paper setting out its priorities for a future relationship with the EU. We will providing more updates to Members on this in the coming weeks and months.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive, ABTA