The government’s £4 million domestic holidays push has been branded as a misguided waste of money by Abta.
The association also released results of a poll which found that almost two thirds of consumers (65%) do not think the state should spend money on trying to influence where people choose to holiday.
A further 14% are undecided, with just over 1 in 5 (21%) supporting the government spending money on this.
Women, who previous research has shown tend to be the ones who decide on the destination for the family holiday, feel more strongly about the campaign with 71% opposing it compared to 59% of men.
When it comes to looking for inspiration for their holiday destination, recommendations by family and friends and travel company websites and brochures are the most likely to inspire.
Only 4% of people who go on holiday said that they would be inspired by government advertising.
The Abta YouGov survey also revealed that British holidaymakers are more likely to look forward to a foreign break (42%) than a domestic one (16%). A figure of 41% look forward to both types of holiday equally.
Abta chief executive Mark Tanzer said: ”I don’t think the government needs to spend £4 million of our money telling us that we’re having the Queen’s Jubilee and the Olympics.
“It is clear that the majority of Brits are strongly opposed to the government spending taxpayer money on telling them where to go on holiday.
“British holidaymakers should be free to make their own choices and enjoy the variety the world has to offer without government interference.”
He added: “Abta also believes it is wrong to assume that holidaying at home is better for the economy than holidaying abroad.
“Foreign travel creates a huge amount of jobs and taxes in the UK as well as giving an incredible boost to the high street.
“This is a misguided use of public funds at a time when so many other areas of the economy are in urgent need of support.”
TUI UK & Ireland managing director David Burling and Virgin Holidays managing director Amanda Wills backed Abta’s stance.
Burling said: “As highlighted by Mark Tanzer, the importance of foreign holidays on the UK economy is incredible and something the Government seems to be underestimating.
“As part of TUI UK & Ireland, Thomson and First Choice employ over 17,000 staff in the UK and overseas, which puts a substantial return into the public purse.”
Wills said: “These poll results don’t come as a surprise. In these challenging times, deciding where to take a holiday is one of the few pleasures – and choices – left to Britain’s hard working population.
“This campaign further undermines an industry which contributes billions to the Treasury’s coffers each year. It also isolates the UK at a time when the country should be opening its arms.
“Surely, during what will be a very international summer, we should be encouraging people to go out and embrace the world, exploring the destinations they’ll hear so much about and broadening their horizons in the process – rather than limiting them to the borders of these islands.”
What inspires you when choosing your holiday destinations?
Recommendations from family and friends 45%
Travel company websites/brochures 36%
TV Programmes or films 16%
Newspaper/magazine recommendations 16%
TV adverts 7%
Facebook photos from family and friends 6%
Government advertising e.g. VisitEngland campaigns 4%
Celebrity holiday choices 1%
None of these 32%
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