Figures released by travel association ABTA predict that holidaymakers will turn to qualified travel professionals when booking their breaks away this year. This could also see the sales of package holidays increase in 2021.
The report found that consumers are 20% more likely to use a travel professional now than before the pandemic, with two in five citing the security of a package holiday (41%) and the travel professional’s up-to-date advice (40%) as the main reasons. Almost a quarter (23%) said they would use a travel professional for the financial protection it brings and almost one in five (19%) said they wanted to be looked after in case something goes wrong, up 16% compared to a similar survey carried out in August.
Rob Gower of Dragonfly Traveller, a Northampton-based travel company which provides a travel PA service, said these figures were understandable.
“It is a bit of an understatement to say that the travel industry has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic,” said Rob. “And it isn’t just down to the government-enforced restrictions and travel corridors that are bringing uncertainty when it comes to booking a holiday, there has been a knock-on effect from staff being furloughed for most of the year, tour operators going into administration and the number of available flights dwindling as airlines don’t want to run half-full flights. There has even been talk of doing away with duty free shopping.
“All of these things together make would-be holidaymakers nervous. But, now that the vaccine has started to roll out across the UK, there is a glimmer of light at the end of this tunnel and I think the new year will see people start booking holidays again.”
These thoughts were also evidenced in the ABTA report, with 62% of people surveyed saying they hope to buy an overseas break in the next six months, compared to 52% in August.
In terms of where we will be travelling to and the types of holidays people will be having, Rob expects to see a rise in those going on ‘bucket list’ trips and emotional holiday purchases, such as those wanting to feel the sand between their toes, hear the sea or breathe in fresh, country air. There will also be a large proportion of people wanting to revisit their favourite places as they have had chance to reflect on past holidays.
“I can see destinations such as Spain, France, Italy and Greece being popular for UK tourists next year, as well as ‘bucket list’ destinations like Mount Kilimanjaro, the Inca Trail and the Northern Lights,” said Rob.
“Travel and tourism will grow, not by returning to what it was, but by adjusting to a new world and enjoying and appreciating it more than ever before.”
Rob Gower of Dragonfly Traveller works as a travel PA, building bespoke holidays and trips for customers. Call 01604 661100 or visit www.dragonflytraveller.co.uk to find out more.