The United Kingdom travel trade press reported that over 3 million Brits booked their 2018 holiday during the week immediately following Christmas, possibly influenced by what has become mostly unseasonal cold weather.
The top ten most popular destinations were: 1) Spain, 2) USA, 3) Italy, 4) Greece, 5) France, 6) Portugal, 7) Caribbean, 8) Australia, 9) Canada and 10) Cyprus.
Perhaps a little surprising, is that the United States is way up there, despite the weakened value of Sterling, but still perceived as offering exceptional value-for-money. All indications are that the USA will be stronger than ever, with an estimated one million more Brits looking to travel across the Atlantic in 2018 when compared to 2017.
Clearly airline choice, increased competition, larger aircraft and availability have all contributed to this, together with opening up of over ten new UK/USA routes.
While Spain led the popularity ratings, according to the ATOL (Air Travel Operating Licence) survey, which arrived at the figures through a sample survey of 4,000 holidaymakers, but geography or demographics had some influence on this.
The London bubble sees those from the Capital bucking the trend when it comes to travel. Only 7 per cent of those that live in London see Spain as their next holiday, compared to a national average of just under a quarter (23 per cent).
Possibility this reflects on fact that London is often referred to as being one of the most expensive cities to live in the world and that drives their residents to consider more exotic locations. A point that I am sure is not lost with our tourism planners and marketers.
The research also found that when it comes to booking holidays, top priority for consumers include guaranteed sunshine, a nearby beach and even access to British TV channels. An interesting topic for our television, cable and satellite providers to ponder on perhaps!
I recently signed up for a free one hour of British television per day via a service called TV Mucho which can be turned into a 24/7 provision, for as little as Euro 4 per month subscription.
As we try and target our tourism product more towards the millennials, the survey concluded for the younger generation, the top three priorities for a holiday include ‘good wifi’, 35 per cent, ‘free data roaming, 15 per cent and ‘instagrammable locations’ 10 per cent.
Food offerings continue to be increasingly important, especially for the more mature travellers.
2018 has been designated ‘The Year of Culinary Experience’ which presents our restaurants, together with all the various eating options the opportunity to partner with catering and drinks suppliers to cement the reputation we have collectively built within the Caribbean, for unparalleled lunch and dining choices.
This is going to be critical to the success of this year long ‘event’.
The anticipated media and press coverage that will be gleaned from this promotion will well eclipse the paid-for advertising that may be contemplated, even during challenging economic times and the marketing funds became available.