Economic downturn ‘will not affect holiday sales’

Few consumers believe the forecast economic downturn will affect their holiday spending.

Market research company TNS Travel and Tourism found only 7% (3 million) of British adults claim the credit crunch will influence their holiday decisions in 2008.

Overall, the UK market for holidays will hold up despite the increasingly poor economic conditions, according to the study. Thirty million British adults were planning to take a holiday in 2008 – amounting to 68% of the population, the survey found.
Surprisingly, nearly a fifth of people still plan to have more than two holidays this year.

Most people booking their 2008 holidays are opting for a break of seven nights or less in the UK and Ireland, while 27% are booking seven nights in Europe and the Mediterranean. About 17% say they are planning a holiday of more than seven nights in a long-haul destination.

TNS head of travel and tourism Tom Costley said: “This data highlights a number of trends that suggest the UK holiday market appears resilient in the face of the economic downturn.”

Agent consortium Advantage is anticipating some slowdown in the travel market, but said it would try to avoid the worst effects by selling to older people with more disposable income.

Advantage sales and marketing director Colin O’Neill said: “The crunch may hit first in the package market, where customers are younger, with young families and high
mortgage payments. The older market will be less likely to be hit by the slowdown in house prices or increase in interest rates.

“We are not complacent, but we have seen a good start to 2008, with the first quarter almost over.”

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