Overseas holiday rise forecasted

Market research body Key Note is predicting a post-recession bounce-back for sales of overseas holidays and a fall in domestic holiday bookings by 2010 or 2011.

Its Market Assessment 2009 report predicts long-term trends of increasing overseas holiday sales and declining domestic holidays will quickly be restored after the recession, and concludes that overall there will be a fall in the number of trips taken but a rise in value.

For this year, however, Key Note predicts an increase in the overall number of all holidays taken, from 120 million trips in 2008 to 121 million in 2009, because of more affordable breaks, particularly in the UK. These figures refer to all trips being taken by the UK holiday market.

Its figures show 43 million overseas holidays will be booked this year – a decline of 4.4% in volume terms on last year – and 78 million domestic trips, valued at £24.5 billion for abroad and £15 billion in the UK.

The report added: “These [domestic holidays] will substitute for main holidays abroad…However, the long-term trend in the market will be quickly restored, meaning the upward trend for holidays abroad will be resumed in 2010 or 2011, where there could be a strong ‘bounce-back’ from 2009 as consumers realise they regretted not going aborad for a long holiday the previous year.”

From 2010, it forecasts a steady annual increase in overseas trips, to 46 million by 2013 – a growth of 7%. At the same time it predicts a gradual decline in domestic trips, to 72 million by 2013 – a decline of 7.7%. Likewise, spend on overseas trips will go up, to £28.5 billion by 2013 (a 16.3% rise), and the value of domestic trips will fall to £14 billion (a 6.7% fall).

Overall, by 2013, the number of holidays taken will fall by 2.5% from 121 million in 2009 to 118 million in 2013, according to Key Note, while the ovearll value of all trips taken will increase by 7.6% from £39.5 billion to £42.5 billion.

The report said lower capacity – already around 25% of overall industry capacity has been taken out in 2007 and 2008 by the major operators –  combined with a more sophisticated market, will drive consumers to take more expensive overseas holidays.

The future of high-quality package holidays within the mix remained secure, it said, despite a rejection by many holidaymakers of the traditional package holiday because of a mass-market image of ‘crowded beaches and shoddy, noisy resorts with tower block accommodation’.

It added: “The future of high-quality ‘packaged’ holidays is assured, as evidenced by the buoyant deamnd for long-haul, all-inclusive resorts and cruise holidays.”

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