//ABTA’s six trends for 2021

ABTA’s six trends for 2021

New figures from ABTA show holidaymakers are more likely to use a travel professional now than before the pandemic, as the association reveals its six trends for travel in 2021

ABTA has revealed six key trends that are shaping people’s travel plans for 2021, with travel experts and package holidays expected to play an important role, according to the Travel Association.

In its new report Six trends for travel in 2021, ABTA reveals that people are 20 per cent more likely to use a travel professional now than before the pandemic, with two in five citing the security of a package holiday (41 per cent) and the travel professional’s up-to-date advice (40 per cent) as the main reasons. This is testament to the many agents and operators who went the extra mile to help their customers this year.

Package holidays are expected to prove a popular choice in 2021 with the reassurances afforded by a package holiday becoming increasingly important to customers, with almost a quarter (23 per cent) saying they booked for the financial protection, up from 19 per cent, and almost one in five (19 per cent) saying they wanted to be looked after in case something goes wrong, up from 16 per cent*. The report also cites that many ABTA members are offering additional benefits and flexibility beyond the existing protections of a package holiday.

ABTA’s data also reveals a recent rise in the number of people looking to book a holiday over the coming year, with 62 per cent of people saying they hope to book a holiday abroad in the next six months, compared to 52 per cent who said the same in August 2020**.

The report finds that there are two distinct types of traveller starting to emerge for 2021 – those keen to return to familiar favourites, and those looking to indulge in bucket list trips.

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Just 32 per cent of people said they would be likely to visit a country they had never been to before next year, compared to 45 per cent who said so last year. This desire to return to familiar favourites is clear from the overseas destinations that people plan to visit in 2021, with Spain, France, the USA, Italy and Greece making up the top five*. Booking trends from ABTA Members point to a similar trend with Turkey, the Balearics, the Canary Islands, Greece, the Algarve and Florida among the most popular spots for next sum­mer.

Conversely, ABTA Members are also expecting bucket list trips such as climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, trekking the Inca Trail and searching for the Northern Lights to be popular in 2021. The younger generation in particular is keen to get out and explore, as new figures reveal 62 per cent of 18-24-year-olds said they plan to spend as much or more on their holidays next year, with one in five (22 per cent) saying this was to take the trip of a lifetime*.

Further trends for next year include an unwavering enthusiasm for cruise holidays, increased interest in trips embracing the great outdoors, and growing demand for responsible tourism.

Mark Tanzer, chief executive ABTA, said: “The severe restrictions that have been placed on international travel this year have clearly led to pent up demand, with many people hoping to get away in the coming year. I’m delighted to see that an increasing number of holidaymakers plan to turn to travel professionals to help them book their much-deserved trips, which is testament to the immense efforts of our Members to help their customers through this crisis, often in exceptionally difficult circumstances.

“There is no question that things are still really difficult for the travel industry. We are continuing to lobby hard on the need for the Government to support the industry and the steps that need to be taken to open up travel.

“Members are reporting increases in enquiries and bookings for holidays next year, particularly following the positive developments around a vaccine, although these levels of bookings are far below where they would be normally. Through our report ‘Six trends for travel in 2021’ we want to inspire holidaymakers to think about their travel plans for the next year and encourage them to book with confidence with an ABTA Member.”

Holidaymakers are encouraged to book with confidence through an ABTA Member and check the latest Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office travel advice at gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice where they can also sign up to receive email alerts.