Analysis: Holiday confidence becomes index-linked

Analysis: Holiday confidence becomes index-linked

A new barometer of holiday outlook suggests growing confidence in the economy if not in holiday intentions. By Ian Taylor

A new index of holiday confidence among UK consumers suggests interest in holidays has remained stable through this year while “negative intentions” among holidaymakers have declined.

The Holiday Confidence Index is produced by foreign exchange supplier First Rate and based on data from YouGov surveys of 5,000-plus UK adults. The results are used to produce indexes on holiday intention, frequency, duration and spending, leading to an overall ‘confidence index’ which enables comparison with previous results.

A YouGov survey in September identified a small drop in intention to take an overseas holiday among all consumers. But it still found more than half intended to have an overseas holiday in the coming year and over half of these potential holidaymakers intended to take more than one trip.

The survey found three-quarters of those who intended to travel abroad planned the same number or more holidays than in the previous 12 months and two-thirds planned the same length of holiday.

The results also suggest travel expenditure will remain steady over the next 12 months.

First Rate reported “an improvement in duration, frequency and spending indices among those who have been on holiday abroad in the past 12 months and those who said they plan to travel abroad”.

It argues this reflects increasing confidence in the UK economy and in individual circumstances.

The resulting Confidence Index is down one point to 68 from its position in March when it was launched, reflecting a decline in numbers planning an overseas holiday among all YouGov respondents – down from 56% in March to 54% in September.

However, respondents who had been abroad in the previous 12 months were “significantly more intent on going away”. First Rate recorded increases in five of the six index scores that make up the overall confidence index.

September’s survey found respondents’ confidence in their job security unchanged from March at 37%, but the proportion feeling insecure fell from 23% to 20% in September.

Those able to meet their financial ‘obligations’ was broadly stable at just above half, but confidence in an improving economy rose from 13% to 25% while pessimism about economic prospects fell from 52% to 30%. This was reflected in a decline in the proportion saying “going abroad on holiday is too expensive” from 61% to 57%.

First Rate head of business decisions Alistair Rennie said: “The index reveals growing stability for the overseas holiday market. There is good reason to be positive.”

He told Travel Weekly: “There is a decline in negative sentiment. Fewer said they would spend less in the next 12 months. Fewer said they would go away less. Attitudes among holidaymakers have improved slightly. There is increased intention to take a holiday.”

However, he pointed out: “People’s intentions are often more positive than the reality. About two-thirds of people [who say they plan a holiday] end up travelling. This is strictly a confidence index: it’s not a crystal ball. We’re not saying 54% of people will travel abroad in the next 12 months. That won’t happen. It is a measure of confidence.”

First Rate plans to publish the index three times a year, in April, late June/early July and late October.

YouGov polled 5,200 consumers online in September for the First Rate Holiday Confidence Index. To request a copy The First Rate Exchange Services report, email HolidayConfidenceIndex@firstrate.co.uk

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