10 Feb

Travellers head off on first half-term break of the year amid holiday booking bonanza

Families are jetting off abroad this week and next for the first February half-term break since the UK travel restrictions lifted.

New data from ABTA – The Travel Association has revealed that, of those travelling abroad this year, 15% will be heading overseas this February half term1, as foreign holidays remain a top priority despite the rising cost of living.

Popular winter sun destinations this February half term include the Canary Islands, mainland Spain, Portugal and Malta for short haul trips, plus Dubai, Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean for those heading further afield. Ski resorts in France, Italy and Switzerland are also popular for those taking to the slopes.

ABTA says the desire to get away this February half term reflects the wider demand for overseas travel, with many ABTA travel agent and tour operator members reporting record-breaking sales in January for holidays this year.

A change in behaviour amongst holiday-bookers, since the pandemic, is giving more thought and consideration to those they are booking with, as three-quarters (75%) of people say booking with a well-known name in the travel industry will be an important part of the booking process this year, up from 62% in 20192.

ABTA’s latest figures also show people are 36% more likely to book with a travel professional now than before the pandemic, with getting the security of a package holiday (45%), up-to-date advice (38%) and good value for money (31%) among the top reasons for doing so3.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA Chief Executive said:
“The enthusiasm we’ve seen for holiday bookings this year shows just how high they are on people’s priority lists, despite the current squeeze on household budgets.

“There is, of course, a strong focus on getting good value for money, which is one of the reasons why people are turning to trusted travel agents and tour operators to plan their trips. People are realising that, as well as being able to give them the latest advice and expert help if something goes wrong, they’re also highly skilled at finding the best holiday for their budget.”

ABTA has advice on how to book with confidence this year, including top tips on how to get the best value for money break, at abta.com/travelwithconfidence.

Notes to editors

1 & 3) ABTA consumer sentiment research, conducted in October 2022 by The Nursery Research and Planning (www.the-nursery.net/) with a nationally representative sample of 500 consumers.

2) ABTA consumer sentiment research conducted by The Nursery Research and Planning (www.the-nursery.net/) in October 2022, with a nationally representative sample of 500 consumers, and ABTA’s Holiday Habits survey, conducted by The Nursery Research and Planning (www.the-nursery.net/) in July 2019, with a nationally representative sample of 2,043 consumers.

About ABTA

ABTA is a trade association for UK travel agents, tour operators and the wider travel industry. We’re the largest travel trade body, with over 3,900 travel brands in Membership who have a combined pre-pandemic annual UK turnover of £40 billion. We work closely with our Members to help raise and maintain standards and build a more sustainable travel industry, and provide travellers with advice, guidance and support.

Our Members sign up to a code of conduct and commit to agreed service standards and fair trading. When you need clear travel information, and accurate and impartial advice relating to your trip, we’re here for you. We’ll help you understand your level of financial protection, and what to do next, in the unlikely event that an ABTA Member goes out of business. So whatever happens, when you book with an ABTA Member, reliable advice comes as standard.  This means that booking with our Members brings peace of mind. Together with our Members, we help you travel with confidence. www.abta.com