Trends in the British travel market will shape the way tourism develops globally over the next few decades, according to research released today at World Travel Market.

Price-savvy Brits are leading the world when it comes to seeking out new and more exotic products, finding the most cost-effective way of travelling and telling suppliers what they want from a holiday.

The report – How the British Will Travel 2010 – has been put together by travel research specialists Tourism Intelligence. And it reveals it is the UK, and not other sophisticated tourism markets such as Germany and the US, that is driving change in the industry.

“We call it the Ford Motors effect,” said Tourism Intelligence managing director Dr Auliana Poon. “Travel used to be mass-produced, standardised and individually packaged. Now the opposite is true. The unpackaging and DIY trend is led by the Brits, and understanding them is the key to understanding how the world will travel in the future.”

The research, based on interviews with 20 of the UK’s top 25 operators, claims overseas destinations should use the desires of UK clients to shape their future offerings.

For example, the huge choice of departure points and products available in the UK is indicative of increasing competition, while shifting demographics of more financially secure grey travellers and more adventurous clients in their 20s signals changes expected in all western markets.

“The British market has a maturity and resilience not seen anywhere else,” added Dr Poon. “The way travel recovered after September 11 2001 is incredible.
British people want to travel and see holidays as vital. It is important tourist boards and hoteliers look at Britain as a model for the future.”