Is the overseas holiday market really in trouble?

23/05/2019 By Jon Young

A spate of recent news would have you believe that the holiday market is in trouble.  So how does our Holiday Trends 2019 prediction of an increase in overseas trips this year stack up against tour operators like Thomas Cook reporting negative trends?  Do they give conflicting stories?  We feel that the story amongst tour operators is nuanced…

Tour operators’ downward trend is in part structural and more indicative of a shift away from destinations where tour operators have high levels of stock (e.g. Spain) than a drop in intentions to holiday overseas altogether.  Indeed, a full analysis of tour operator bookings actually indicates flat growth in trips overseas overall.  Bookings to Spain have dropped, but bookings to a resurgent Turkey and Tunisia have increased considerably.

Whilst Holiday Trends 2019 did not predict the drop in trips to Spain, it captured the mindset of Britons in January when they were still in the inspiration stage of their holiday planning.  At this stage, Britons still had numerous potential destinations on their shortlist which would be reduced by influences such as inspirational marketing, recommendations and personal budgets.  These factors may have nudged behaviour away from traditional destinations in the EU.  With changing exchange rates, lingering doubts around Brexit (see report) and a drop in terrorism concerns, people appear to have opted for the likes of Turkey instead of their Spain staple, despite considering both back in January.

The good news for anxious Spanish resorts is that the country remains by far the most considered destination.  But the challenge is clearly how to convert consideration into visits.

We’d love to continue the conversation further so do get in touch if you have any other ideas.

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