There are “huge” opportunities for the travel industry as the demands of consumers become more diverse and people use holidays to shape their identity.

That was the message from research and forward insight analyst Tom Johnson.

Addressing delegates at Abta’s Travel Convention in the Azores, he said increasingly holidays were less of a break from work and more about “saying something about who we are”.

Johnson, director of Trajectory, which works with a number of travel businesses, also said there was a rise of “anxiety society” where people perceived the world to be more dangerous than it actually was.

“The holidays we take are not just a break, they are about saying something about who we are, our identity,” he said. “Are we gourmet travellers, boho travellers, thrill seekers? In reality we could be all three at once and the reason we could be all three is that we have more time to take holidays than we used to.

“There are huge opportunities for travel. There is an increased demand for various active, sporting events and a rejection of our digital lives. People want to log out.”

However, he said with increased opportunities there comes complexity because people want different things at different times.

“The perception is that the world is getting more dangerous, but it’s not. Actually we’re safer and we’re healthier, but worries can stop travel,” Johnson said.

However, he said Brexit could have a big impact on travel and tourism if we see the introduction of ESTA-style visas and levies imposed on travel.

Travel Weekly’s full coverage of The Travel Convention