Younger people are driving growth in package holidays, the resilience of travel agents and the increase in cruising, according to the latest Abta Holiday Habits report unveiled at the Travel Convention in Tokyo today (8 October).
More than half of people (51%) took an overseas package holiday this year, up 2% on last year – but the increase rose to 13% among 18- to 24-year-olds, with 53% of them booking this type of trip in 2018.
And, among customers using retail travel agents, 18- to 24-year-olds are now the age range most likely to book travel in-store – showing an 8% increase since 2018 (22% vs 14%). Overall in-store bookings slipped from 15% to 12%.
Victoria Bacon, director of brand and business development at Abta, said: “It’s exciting to see the generation of ‘digital natives’ increasingly realising the benefits of using the experience and expertise of travel professionals and booking their holidays with them.
“Increasingly, Abta member travel companies are responding to the changing needs of customers by providing support through web chat and social media, so whether they’re booking online, over the phone or in-store, they get the support of a travel professional.”
The Abta research found that more than a quarter (28%) of 18- to 34-year-olds have now taken a cruise, up 6% on last year – compared to growth of only 2% among over 65s.
Overall in 10 people have gone on a cruise in the past year and one in seven are planning to go on a cruise in the next year – both up 2% on 2018 – with Abta attributing the growth to the wide variety of cruises now available.
Speaking on the growth in cruise, Bacon added: “There has been a noticeable boost in the number of young holidaymakers choosing this type of holiday. Whether it’s making the most of the onboard technology, taking part in adventure-based excursions or experiencing an 80s-themed party at sea, there is an incredible range of options for both new and seasoned travellers to enjoy.”
Abta’s partner The Nursery spoke to a nationally representative sample of 2,043 consumers for the study, which related to the 12 months to July 2019.