The number of Brits taking a holiday is the highest it has been since 2011, according to research from Abta.

The latest Holiday Habits Report, unveiled at the Abta Convention in Tokyo today, found that nine out of 10 Brits (88%) took a holiday in the 12 months to July 2019. Despite the growth, the research also showed holidaymakers are keen to stretch their money further by cutting spend before they travel and whilst away.

Abta said families were fuelling the growth with families with children over five taking an average of 5.6 holidays a year – half in the UK and half overseas. Younger families (children under five) took an average of 3.9 trips.


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Research shows foreign holidays saw an increase, with 64% of those polled having taken a holiday abroad, compared to 60% the year prior.

The number of foreign holidays of seven nights or more increased to an average of 1.1 per person, compared to 1 in 2018 and 0.7 in 2016. More than 50% of those travelling abroad took a package holiday, up 2% year-on-year, citing value for money as the reason behind picking a package.

The research showed that traditionally popular destinations such as mainland Spain, the Canaries, Balearics, Greece and Italy among the favourites. Long-haul travel was also on the up, with a quarter of consumers saying they visited Asia, up from 15% in 2018.

When it came to spend, the report found that compared to two years ago, UK travellers were spending on average £98 less before and whilst away on a short overseas break and £94 less on a longer overseas break.

The growth in the number of holidays taken comes despite clients taking longer to book. Stats from the survey, which saw 2,043 consumers polled, showed that one in five, or 19%, had left it later to book their travels, rising to nearly a third (32%) of young families.

Abta said this delay in booking had been something members had reported too.

On the other hand, 22% said they had booked earlier than normal.

When quizzed on future travel plans, seven out of ten of those polled said they were planning a trip abroad in the next 12 months. While Europe topped the list of destinations people said they most wanted to visit with 57%, the second most popular choice was the UK at 56%. There was a slight dip in people voicing concern about the impact Brexit will have on the cost of their holiday – down 3% from last year to 51%.

ABTA chief executive said Mark Tanzer said: “The British public’s appetite for taking holidays has continued unabated in the past 12 months.

“This has partly been due to the wide variety of excellent value for money options available this year, and also because holidays are a priority when it comes to discretionary spend.

“Rather than cutting back on the number of holidays, people are looking to save money in their holiday budget in other ways – spending less before and while they’re away, and changing when they book to find better deals. With seven in ten people planning a trip abroad in the year ahead, it’s clear that holidays are set to remain a spending priority.”

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