Juliet Dennis picks out some of the firm’s latest trends

Millennials more interested in culture than getting a tan

The current generation of 18 to 35-year-olds would rather relax, recharge and help local communities than have late-night parties and get a tan, according to Thomas Cook.

Six months on from the closure of Cook’s iconic Club 18-30 brand, the company revealed a dramatic shift in the holiday habits of the younger generations since its youth brand’s heyday.

Cook, which surveyed 4,000 18 to 35-year-olds, said the package holiday was enjoying a revival among today’s millennials and generation Z holidaymakers.

But instead of booze cruises and all-night parties, they want healthier, calmer and more sophisticated breaks at affordable prices featuring, for example, poolside yoga, nutritious cuisine and contemporary cocktails designed by mixologists.

Cook claimed it had increased the proportion of bookings from this age group by 50% in the past five years by adapting to its needs. One in four Cook bookings is now made by an 18 to 35-year-old.

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Comparing today’s 18 to 25-year-olds with previous generations, the report revealed little change in their top priority, price. But experiencing local culture was regarded as important by 42% of respondents, compared with 18% by previous generations, while getting a tan and partying were both rated as important by 10% of people, compared with 38% and 26% respectively in the past.

Despite this, 61% of 18 to 25-year-olds admitted to drinking more on holiday than at home.

Other changes among younger travellers include less willingness to travel alone, and less interest in ‘holiday romances’, with 50% of respondents reporting no interest in having one.

In terms of general spending, the report revealed that holidays remain a priority for this generation, who ranked an overseas trip only behind saving. Buying a home came third and home improvements fourth.

Eco-friendly ways are left at home

Environmentally-friendly behaviour has a long way to go until it filters into the holiday mentality, Thomas Cook’s 2019 UK Holiday Report found.

While 77% of people surveyed recycled at home, this figure dropped to 42% on holiday. More than half of people (51%) limit their use of disposable plastic at home, compared with 35% of people on holiday.

But 40% of Brits say they are more likely to choose activities that benefit a local community in some way, compared with a decade ago.

Tunisia bookings bounce back for Thomas Cook

The popularity of Tunisia as a holiday destination is returning, with Thomas Cook’s flight-only and package bookings well up on last year.

Compared with 2018, flight-only sales are up fourfold and package bookings up 103%, according to Cook’s 2019 UK holiday report.

About half a million Brits visited Tunisia each year before the Sousse terror attack in June 2015.

This year, Cook expects the number of customers it sends to Tunisia to rise 50% on last year to 90,000, since the Foreign Office relaxed its travel advice. Tunisia was Cook’s fourth-most-popular destination in 2014. This summer it is seventh, up from 10th last year.

Meanwhile, the report also revealed that breaks of less than a week were increasingly popular for long-haul destinations.

Mobiles account for 58% of searches

More Thomas Cook customers used a mobile phone rather than a desktop computer to search for a holiday this year.

Mobile searches on thomascook.com have accounted for 58% of traffic this year, showing phones are customers’ “go-to device” for booking and browsing holidays.

Bookings on mobile devices have increased more than fivefold compared with 2016.

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