A “perfect storm” of the falling value of the pound and security fears are having a direct impact on travel within Europe this autumn school half-term.
Although a third of people are planning a break during half-term next week, a quarter admit they are avoiding Europe, research published today reveals.
Further findings from a poll of more than 2,000 consumers by Travelzoo shows that a quarter of Britons have noticed extra security measures when travelling this year and more than half are prepared to undergo further security checks to improve security.
A third (31%) are willing to pay at least 5% more for their holidays – one in ten (10%) would pay 10% more – if it meant there was extra security when travelling abroad.
When asked about the impact of recent events on their destination choice, 41% say they are now actively avoiding places affected by terrorist attacks, 34% say they are more likely to holiday in the UK, while 11% are more likely to take all-inclusive holidays in Europe to safeguard themselves against the falling value of the pound.
Half say they are happy to provide biometric data, such as fingerprints and eye retina scans, while 28% are willing to accept longer queues and delays in exchange for improved security.
More than half (57%) do not believe it is acceptable for travellers to pay a premium to avoid or skip security.
The UK consumer appetite for holidays remains stable, with Spain and France continuing to be the favoured European holiday destinations.
However, long-haul continues to grow in popularity, with Canada named the second most popular destination and Australia in fourth place this October half-term.
Travelzoo European president Richard Singer said: “As we approach the last few months of 2016 we can see many factors are influencing where British consumers wish to travel to. The situation right now could be described as a ‘perfect storm.’
“We have increased pressure on the price of European holidays caused by the falling value of the pound, combined with two of the key affordable winter sun destinations – Sharm el-Sheikh and Tunisia – continuing to be off the menu for British holidaymakers.
“Looking outside Europe, destinations popular with Britons continue to suffer from the impact of Zika virus. When we put all of these factors together it’s understandable that consumers more than ever need guidance on where to book their next holiday.”
He added: “Speaking to the many travel companies Travelzoo works with, we know October half term bookings have been fairly stable.
“However, there is definitely concern in the market about Christmas and February half-term where we expect to see the true impact of Brexit and other global events.
“We predict the Canaries will maintain their status as the top destination, but consumers should bear in mind there are other destinations that could offer better value in the coming months.
“Gibraltar, Jordan, Muscat, Morocco, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the surrounding UAE states are all looking strong in terms of value for money right now.”
When it comes to Europe and the Brexit negotiations, Singer said: “Regarding the falling value of the pound we are already seeing an increase in demand for all-inclusive European holidays.
“In order to regain some stability in the region, we urge Theresa May to provide reassurance that travel negotiations with Europe – particularly around the EHIC card and European open air space – are high on the agenda.”
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