UK could be half way through recession, says PwC

The UK could already be half way through the current recession that started last year.

Speaking at ABTA’s Travel Recession Toolkit held yesterday in London, PricewaterhouseCoopers senior manager Caroline Rifkind said it is impossible to predict many aspects of a recession but that certain lessons can be learnt from history.

In the recession of 1992-1993, air travel fell by 20% for a little more than two years while non-air travel was down by 10% over the same period, she said.

Despite changes in the travel market, notably the emergency of low-cost airlines and destinations, she argued Britain could soon find it has gone through the worst of the recession – provided the current downturn follows the same cycle as the previous one.

Rifkind said: “If you think we’re possibly a year now into the recession this would suggest if things were as difficult as they were last time there’s only another year before we see an upturn and a possible return to spending.”

She added that although 58% of consumers continued to take holidays as normal in the last recession, there was an overall downturn as both the number of holidays and expenditure on travel taken fell.

However, Rifkind warned that short breaks have dropped from being the second most important consumer spending priority last year to fifth this year, behind minor home improvements, reducing debt and increasing savings. However, the main summer holiday remains the number one spending priority this year, as it was last year.

More information:

* Travel industry can expect more failures, says PwC director (Travel Weekly, April 30, 2009)

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