Activities and excursions are customers’ number one priority when it comes to choosing a holiday ahead of accommodation and location, according to research.

Travel firms were urged to put a strategy in place to tap into the €170 billion market which is set to grow by 7% between 2016-2020.

David Schelp, Tui’s destination experiences managing director, shared the findings with delegates at this year’s ITT conference in Croatia.

He said the sector was outstripping overall tourism growth which increased by 4%.

Figures showed 38% of people chose activities and excursions as the main aspect which influenced their holiday choice. Just over 30% chose proximity to the beach, 28% said quality of accommodation and 27% said resort location.

Holidays which include tours and activities had a 18% higher Net Promoter Score  when it came to customer loyalty compared to those that did not include them.

“Every travel company should have a tours and activity strategy,” Schelp said.

“There will be a lot more opportunities to sell more products to more customers.

(It) drives ancillary revenue…and that enhances the brand and drives loyalty.”

Schelp also said the sector could “not be digitised” and relied on human to human contact to be delivered.

He predicted growth in the food and drink tours market which was as yet “untapped”.