Latest research suggests significant rise in package holidays

The latest research suggests a significant rise in the proportion of UK consumers booking overseas package holidays since the pandemic. Market research firm BVA BDRC reports 64% of UK adults plan an overseas trip this year of whom 60% plan an all-inclusive or other type of package holiday – up from 58% a year ago and 45% in 2019.

However, the research also found a majority expect living costs to continue to hit their spending, with 24% saying they had been “hit hard” and another 44% that they “have to be careful” – proportions barely changed in a year. This led BVA BDRC to conclude: “There are no obvious signs of the personal impact of the crisis easing.”

At the same time, the researchers noted personal savings are “consistently lower than a year earlier”, with a gap of 30 percentage points between those reporting lower savings than a year ago and those reporting higher.

Research director Jon Young, who presented the findings at a Tourism Alliance conference last week, told Travel Weekly: “A lot of consumer research shows sentiment moving in the right direction, but when you look at how impacted people feel by the cost of living, they’re still ‘being hit hard’ or ‘cautious’.”

He noted recent Office for National Statistics data shows a “jump” in monthly direct-debit failures and said: “Higher mortgage rates won’t have kicked in yet, interest rates aren’t dropping and personal savings are consistently lower than a year ago.” Young described the package bookings data as “striking”, saying: “It fits the cost-of-living crisis.

It suggests people are favouring the safer option. Maybe some people got ‘burned’ during the pandemic.” The research also suggests those aged over 65, or ‘retirees’, comprise the most reliable market for overseas holidays this year, with only one in three (32%) saying the cost of living could affect their travel behaviour compared with 70% of families and 67% of younger adults.

Young noted: “Retirees are less impacted by the cost of living and many don’t have a mortgage. Almost one third (31%) of those planning an overseas holiday this year are aged 55-plus, up from 27% last year, according to BVA BDRC. The research includes consumer data up to March and is based on a rolling survey of up to 1,800 UK adults.

More: Holidays being booked eight months ahead ‘to secure best prices’

Record numbers plan overseas holidays but many adapting behaviour as costs rise

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