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Brits cutting back on holiday spending but package deals stay popular

Emma Lunn
Written By:
Emma Lunn
Posted:
Updated:
27/11/2023

Research by travel association ABTA suggests more people are booking trips through travel agents, with package holidays popular in order to keep costs down.

ABTA’s Holiday Habits 2022 report looked at how people travelled over the past 12 months, as well as people’s holiday plans for the year ahead.

It revealed that one in three (35%) holidaymakers will cut back on holiday spending next year, but that people were more likely to cut back on non-essential spending elsewhere, such as eating out (55%), leisure activities (48%) and clothes, shoes and accessories (40%).

ABTA found that the cost of living crisis means more people are seeking all-inclusive trips and cheaper package deals. Holidaymakers are also cutting costs by taking fewer holidays (36%), opting for cheaper travel options (28%) and eating out less while away (23%).

The report found that 45% of Brits travelled abroad in the 12 months to August 2022, equivalent to 70% of the number of people who took a foreign holiday in 2019 before the pandemic.

ABTA says this is “a significant proportion of people given that UK travel restrictions were lifted only in March 2022, and rules have eased at varying rates in destinations.”

Rise in travel agent bookings

ABTA said that more people booked with a travel professional this year than in 2019 (36% compared with 34%), with a notable rise in demand from young families and young people.

More than half of those with young families (54%), and 25 to 34-year-olds (55%), booked in this way, both an increase on 2019 (36% and 38% respectively). Of all those choosing to book with a travel professional, the ease of booking was their main motivation (44%), followed by having someone to help and support if something goes wrong (35%).

Package popularity

Package holidays were the most popular way to travel on an overseas holiday, with almost two-thirds (63%) of holidaymakers taking this type of trip. Being the best value option for the price (34%), having everything taken care of (29%) and booking an all-inclusive holiday (28%) were the top reasons why people booked a package holiday.

Looking ahead, ABTA found that foreign travel is here to stay, with 61% of people planning to travel abroad in the next 12 months.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive said: “Given how much restrictions had dampened demand, it’s quite remarkable to see foreign holiday taking already reaching 70% of 2019 levels, which was in itself a bumper year for travel, in such a short space of time.

“We now face an uncertain year ahead given the cost of living challenges, but ABTA’s research suggests that we should continue to see an increase in foreign holidays next year and, encouragingly, many of our members have also been reporting a high level of demand for bookings.”