The long-haul travel market is headed for a growth period driven by a new breed of sophisticated traveller, according to research by Mintel.

According to Mintel’s Long Haul Holidays UK January 2007 report long-haul travel will account for over a fifth of the UK holiday market by 2011.

The long-haul sector will be worth more than £8 billion in 2007, accounting for more than one third of the value of overseas holidays.

The Long Haul Holidays UK January 2007 report found long-haul holidays have grown 28% in five years, outstripping the general market that has grown by 19%.

The number of passengers is expected to increase by 29% to 10.8 million by 2011 with long-haul increasing its slice of the overall market to 20.6%.

The research found the majority of people book their long-haul trip independently but First Choice Holidays head of long-haul holidays Marie Wilson believes the package sector can take advantage of the growth.

“Customers want reassurance when travelling to lesser-known destinations, especially in developing countries,” she said.