A survey released today by global travel deals publisher Travelzoo (NASDAQ: TZOO) reveals the falling value of the British pound, combined with concerns over security, will affect leisure travel over the British academic half term break. Although 33% of Britons are planning half term breaks next week, 22% say they are avoiding some European destinations.
The Travelzoo® Autumn 2016 Travel Trends survey* also explores consumer sentiment around security measures, with 26% of Britons saying they have noticed extra security measures when travelling this year and 54% prepared to undergo further security checks to improve security. 46% say they’re happy to give up biometric data, such as fingerprints and retina scans, while 28% are willing to accept longer queues and delays, in exchange for improved security.
The UK consumer appetite for holidays remains stable, and hotspots such as Spain and France continue to be the favoured European holiday destinations in spite of the weakened pound. Spain continues to be the top overseas destination this half term – with the Canaries in particular performing strongly with the British outbound leisure traveller. Other key trends from the survey show the growing popularity of long-haul holidays, with Canada and Australia named joint second along with France as the most popular destinations.
When asked about the impact of recent events on their destination choice, 41% say they are now actively avoiding destinations impacted by terrorist attacks (with North African coastal destinations most affected) and 34% say they are more likely to holiday in the UK. 11% say they are more likely to book an all-inclusive package when travelling to Europe to ensure they get the best possible value for money while the pound continues to be unstable.
Richard Singer, Travelzoo’s President, Europe and industry commentator, said, “As we approach the last few months of 2016, we can see that there are many factors impacting the desire to travel to what, just two years ago, were some of the top autumn and winter destinations. The situation right now could be described as a perfect storm. We have increased pressure on the price of European holidays, caused by the falling value of the pound, combined with two of the key affordable destinations (Sharm el Sheikh and Tunisia) continuing to be off the menu for British holidaymakers. Looking outside Europe, destinations popular with Britons continue to suffer from the impact of Zika virus. When we put all of these factors together, it’s understandable that consumers more than ever need guidance on where to book their next holiday.”
Singer continued, “Speaking to the many travel companies Travelzoo works with, we know October half term bookings have been fairly stable. However there is definitely concern in the market about Christmas and February half term, where we expect to see the true impact of Brexit and other global events. We predict the Canaries will maintain their status as the top destination, but consumers should bear in mind there are other destinations that could offer better value in the coming months. Gibraltar, Jordan, Muscat, Morocco, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the other Emirates are all looking strong in terms of value for money right now.”
In terms of Europe and the Brexit negotiations, Singer said, “Regarding the falling value of the pound, we are already seeing an increase in demand for all-inclusive European holidays. In order to regain some stability in the region, we urge Theresa May to provide reassurance that travel negotiations with Europe – particularly around the European Health Insurance Card and European open airspace – are high on the agenda.”
*The survey for Travelzoo’s 2016 Travel Trends report was conducted with an online questionnaire by third-party research agency Atomik. The questionnaire was completed by 2,003 consumers in the UK. Travelzoo also worked with key trade partners and clients in the UK to assess market sentiment regarding travel in the coming six months.
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