Nearly half of holidaymakers will travel less this year, says new research

New research shows 41% of holidaymakers plan to travel less in 2009 while just over a third fear their tour operator will go bust.

The findings come from the The Foreign Office and ABTA 2009 Travel Trends Report, which researched  booking patterns during 2009. It predicts Turkey, Egypt and Mexico will be among 2009’s holiday hotspots.

Based on a YouGov survey in November of 1,311 British adults who plan to take a holiday in 2009, 41% said they will reduce the number of holidays they take in 2009. There is also evidence of a significant reduction in annual insurance policies being taken out for winter 2009 compared with this winter.

Results from the same YouGov poll show 35% of holidaymakers planning to travel this year are concerned about their tour operator going bust. The news has prompted the FO to encourage consumers to ensure their tour operator is ATOL registered before they travel. Large travel companies TUI Travel and Thomas Cook are already emphasising financial protection in their new year campaigns following the failure of XL Leisure Group last September.

Not having enough money to spend on holiday is a concern for 41% of people planning a holiday this year. Already this has been borne out by an increase in sales of all-inclusive holidays, which allows consumers to budget by knowing the full holiday cost before they travel. The FO is advising consumers to have access to emergency funds and not to cut corners on travel insurance.

A second survey carried out by YouGov of 2,108 adults in November 2008 shows one in five Brits may miss out on a last-minute bargain in 2009 as deals will be limited because of capacity cuts by major tour operators.

The same poll predicts a trend to the US, with 13% of Brits more likely to visit the destination now Barack Obama has been elected. Added to lower fuel prices and the cheaper cost of living in the US, the report claims the strong dollar may not be enough to put off British tourists from visiting this country.

Other trends predicted for this year by the report are an increase in Brits travelling to get married abroad, a rise in the number of holidaymakers going camping or caravanning, and more people using their holiday time to visit family and friends.

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