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Special Report: Holiday demand ‘lower for the next 12 months’

Survey finds just 42% of Brits planning overseas trip in next year. Ian Taylor reports

Government travel restrictions and the risk of controls changing at short notice are suppressing consumer intentions to travel overseas on holiday not just this summer but over the next 12 months.

That is according to a yet-to-be-released survey of UK holiday intentions by consumer research firm BVA BDRC.

The research, for a forthcoming Holiday Trends 2021 report, saw BVA BDRC survey 1,750 UK adults in the week of May 17 when travel resumed to a small number of green list destinations.

It found just 42% were considering an overseas holiday or short break in the next 12 months. That may sound healthy but it is 29 percentage points down on January 2020 and one-third lower than in April last year when the UK was already in lockdown.


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The findings led the researchers to conclude caution around overseas travel “is relatively long-term”.

By contrast, the proportion planning a UK domestic trip was on a par with 13 months ago at 72%.

The fall in intention to travel overseas was pronounced for all ages, although the extent varied from a 34% fall among 18-34-year-olds to a 43% drop among those aged 35-plus.

It was also consistent for both holidays and short breaks and across most popular destinations other than Portugal and Greece.

The study found holiday demand for Portugal, the one major destination on the initial green list, unchanged on pre-pandemic rates for short breaks and down by one fifth for holidays. Short-break demand for Greece was also unchanged.

But demand for other popular destinations was severely affected. Holiday demand was down by 66% for the Balearics, 63% for Italy, 60% for Cyprus and 71% for the US. Short-break demand was similarly low, with demand for France down 67% and mainland Spain down 55%.

The research found only a marginal fall in the duration of holidays respondents were intending to take and no change in the type of booking likely. However, there was a 10-point fall to 37% in the proportion intending to book a four or five-star hotel – although three out of five respondents (59%) still chose a hotel over other accommodation types.

There was a four-point rise in the proportion intending to stay with relatives or friends (11%) and a two-point rise in self-catering (9%), but no rise in intention to book Airbnb-style homestays (4%) or private villas (8%).

BVA BDRC director Jon Young said: “What’s notable is that these figures relate to the next 12 months, not just the summer period, which suggests hopes of an autumn or winter surge in bookings are misplaced.”

However, he added: “It’s possible the Indian variant has dampened intention and successful navigation of this strain will bump intention up.”

For more information about BVA BDRC, visit: hcontent.bva-bdrc.com/clearsight

More: Portugal rated ‘best value’ holiday destination

Updated: First 2021 package holidays depart

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