The package holiday has declined in relative popularity among UK consumers taking short-haul trips, but is booming for long haul.
Market analyst Mintel reports UK sales of long-haul packages, excluding to North America, rose 57% over the four years to 2007 – hitting 3.35 million a year.
That compares with a 48% rise in independent long-haul trips to 2.56 million over the same period – leaving the trade with the lion’s share of long haul.
Package sales to North America also rose 8.3% to 878,000 over the four years, with sales passing one million in two of the years when the exchange rate was more favourable. However, the independent market to North America dwarfed this with a 10% increase to 1.86 million.
By contrast, sales of packages to traditional resorts and cities on the Continent fell 14% in the four years to 2007, while independent travel to the same destinations rose 17% – reflecting the capture by Ryanair and EasyJet of much of the market to Spain and Italy.
Mintel reports UK travel to core European Union members such as these increased by 2.7% between 2003 to 2007, while falling from 75% to 68% of the UK’s total outbound market. But bear in mind, the trade still sold 12.2 million packages to traditional European destinations in 2007.
Package sales to European destinations outside the EU rose almost 5% in the same period, while independent travel to these countries almost doubled – growing 84%. However, the package and independent markets to these destinations remain close in size at 2.5 million to three million apiece.