We are coming to the end of the summer season and it gives us a chance to reflect on and assess the state of the market for overseas and domestic holidays over the past six weeks or so. Overall, the picture looks positive, with industry figures showing a strong domestic season and overseas bookings for summer 2016 tracking 5% up year on year, according to statistics from market research analysts GfK. This is even more impressive when you consider bookings in 2015 were also strong. These figures appear to have been driven both by a general improvement in consumer confidence in the previous year as well as other factors, such as low aviation fuel costs. However the picture has not been entirely rosy. With the Foreign and Commonwealth Office still advising against non-essential travel to Tunisia, this destination is no longer an option for UK holidaymakers, while bookings to Egypt were reportedly down 70% and Turkey by 30% according to GfK. Spain, Portugal and Cyprus are reported to have seen double-digit percentage increases in visitor numbers while long haul bookings, especially to the Caribbean islands and Mexico also increased significantly, boosted by cuts in Air Passenger Duty on child fares, which have made long haul travel more affordable for families. There has been some media reporting that fear of terrorism has stopped people from travelling overseas, but while the ‘staycation’ has certainly proved popular this year, the evidence points to a different conclusion: that people have still been going abroad on holiday, to tried and trusted Western Mediterranean destinations and also further afield to a wider range of long-haul destinations.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive