New Travel Trends Report 2013

The comprehensive ABTA Consumer Trends Survey sets out the reasons why the travel industry should be optimistic for 2013.

Feedback from the recently launched ABTA Consumer Trends Survey shows that holidays are the item consumers would be most unwilling to cut back on. The continued squeeze on household finances is, however, expected to see holidaymakers continue to look for good value holidays in 2013, with 7 in 10 (70%) consumers saying good value is essential or important when booking a holiday.

The outlook for the high street looks positive for 2013, with many companies continuing last year’s trend of opening flagship and “experience” stores, following in the footsteps of Apple.

Consumer sentiment towards travel agents also appears to have become more positive over the past twelve months. Customers appear to be rediscovering the benefits and skills of travel agents with the number that value their services climbing from 30% to 40%.

2013 is expected to be another good year for the all-inclusive and luxury sectors.

With continued economic uncertainty and low consumer confidence, families are expected to continue to put faith in the destinations they know best. Spain, Greece, Italy, the USA, France, Cyprus and Turkey are expected to continue to be the most popular destinations for holidaymakers in 2013.

The ABTA Consumer Trends Survey suggests that holidaymakers are feeling more adventurous going into 2013 about the types of holiday they plan to take. While demand for city breaks and beach holidays is expected to hold steady, there is an increase in demand for more active and differentiated holidays.

ABTA Travel Trends Report 2013

Key Trends 2013

1. Tailor-Made Experiences

While tailor-made tours used to be just for the luxury end of the market there are now many tour operators offering more affordable options due to the growth in popularity of this kind of holiday.

The rise of multi-centre holidays where holidaymakers may combine two or more destinations in their trip are also growing in popularity and fuelling the trend for tailor-made holidays.

2. In Search of Adventure

According to ABTA research 5% of consumers are expected to take an adventure or challenge holiday in 2013. Whether its hot air ballooning in Turkey or white water rafting in Northern Spain, tour operators are offering more options to cater for holidaymakers’ growing sense of adventure.

3. Value 

One trend expected in 2013 is for consumers to book earlier to secure good value deals for their holidays. ABTA research shows that a third (34%) of consumers booked their holiday further in advance in 2012 compared to the prior year. The top reason cited for booking further in advance was to secure better deals/cheaper prices (68%).

All-inclusives are expected to experience strong demand in 2013, building on their success in 2012.

4. Package Vs DIY 

The trend is likely to be fuelled by consumers valuing the security and cost effectiveness that package holidays provide, particularly in the current economic climate.

In 2012 nearly half (48%) of people who took an overseas holiday booked a package, compared to 42% in 2011 and 37% in 2010. The trend is particularly marked among 35-44 year olds: over half (51%) said they had booked an overseas package holiday in 2012, compared with just over a third (36%) in 2011.

The findings also show there has been a slight decrease in the number of people booking and paying for their travel and accommodation separately – or “DIY” bookings. 39% of people said they booked an overseas DIY holiday in 2012 compared to 43% in 2011.

5. Luxury – return of the big holiday 

The luxury market has performed remarkably well in recent years. 2013 is expected to be a particularly good year for luxury tour operators with some tour operators predicting that those who have held back on a big, long-haul holiday in recent years will take that trip in 2013.

6. Train, Coach and Cruise

It’s expected that in 2012 more UK passengers than ever before will have taken an ocean cruise holiday, with the figure rising to 1.72 million – 20,000 passengers more than 2011.

ABTA is also seeing a slight rise in demand for train and coach holidays, with 9% of consumers saying they plan to take a coach holiday in 2013, compared to 8% who took one  in 2012 and 9% planning a train holiday compared to 6% who took one in 2012. The increase  can be attributed to people seeking alternative options to flying, the growth of high speed rail and consumers looking for good value holidays.

7. Age group trends 

Younger travellers are taking more holidays. Those aged 15-24  took on average almost five breaks in the UK or overseas in the past 12 months compared to an average of four holidays during the same period a year ago. 25-34 year olds took an average of 4.5 holidays in the UK and overseas compared to four a year ago. Across all age groups the average number of holidays taken abroad and at home was 3.5 breaks. In total  those aged 15-34 take more holidays abroad than any other age group.

Short breaks, particularly to music festivals, are particularly popular amongst younger travellers, with 15% of those aged 15-24 planning a trip of this kind.

8. Space Tourism 

2013 will be a historic year for space tourism with the first consumer flight into space being launched by Virgin Galactic. Cost is likely to prohibit this becoming anything but a travel trend for the mega-rich in the immediate future but it is certainly a landmark event for the travel industry.

More info:

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Top 5 AbouTourism Posts for 2012!

As we get ready to welcome 2013, we take a look back at some of our favorite and most read articles for 2012!

During this past year, abouTourism offered insights on destination marketing and the latest advancements, highlighted the latest trends to shape the industry, and shared best practice cases showcasing successful destination strategies.

Let’s take a look at the abouTourism blog posts that you found the most useful in 2012!

1. Developing a Social Media Strategy for Tourism Destinations

An overview of the Social Media Strategy for Slovenia,  which the Slovenian Tourism Board commissioned us to develop in 2011, in order to take its marketing activity to the next level, broadening the range of channels through which the Slovenian tourism product could be accessed and exceed the expectations of today’s online travel consumer.

2. Local Destination Marketing – Take a Look “Inside”

A selection of marketing initiatives from England, Scotland and France aimed at promoting domestic tourism and ‘staycations‘, local collaboration and product development as well as manage domestic issues affecting their reputation and tourism flows.

3. Greece: Online Reputation Management & Destination Marketing

For an online reputation management program to be successful at a destination level, it is clear that Tourism Boards and DMOs need to follow an organized and methodical approach. Setting clear objectives, communicating it to all stakeholders and coordinating their activity while having integrated the program with existing marketing and operational activities are the basic steps to success.

4. Destination Marketing & Sport Tourism

Sport tourism is much more than just one-off sport activities. It can form a unique culture at the destination, enhance long term tourism development and certainly has great economic benefits as one of the fastest growing and more profitable tourism sectors; that is if planned and developed appropriately.

5. In Partnerships We Trust- Collaborative Destination Marketing

This article focuses on the most recent collaboration and tourism partnerships at a destination level, this time especially focusing on examples of tight market segmentation profiling such as in the cases of France and Holland.

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Accessible Tourism Development & Marketing- An Analysis

Just as VisitEngland unveiled plans for a national marketing campaign to promote accessible tourism in England next year, we talk with Ivor Ambrose, Managing Director of the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) for an analysis of the accessible tourism market.

On the English front, Visit England, the national tourist board will work with five destinations to develop exciting itineraries with top class accommodation and attractions that provide a warm welcome for all visitors including those with access needs. It will identify tourism businesses in their area that provide particularly excellent levels of service to visitors with access needs – such as those with hearing and visual impairments, wheelchair users, older and less mobile people and people with pushchairs.

Copyright Britainonview

The national tourist board will then work with the destinations and businesses to ensure that they all meet the same high standard of accessibility, focussing on key issues such as customer service and visitor information. This will incorporate a number of VisitEngland’s tools and resources, such as Access Statements and online disability awareness training.

As Ivor Ambrose, Managing Director of the European Network for Accessible Tourism (ENAT) comments, “VisitEngland has a strong track record of supporting its destinations and businesses to help them capitalise on the growing accessible tourism market. It is encouraging to see that English tourism businesses and destinations are getting a helping hand from their national tourism authority, especially as the recession is biting hard.

In the UK, the Equality Act, which has replaced the former Disability Discrimination Act, now applies generally to the provision of services, including tourism. It is important that managers can get practical advice when it comes to compliance issues surrounding access. Creating a destination that is truly accessible for all visitors requires that managers and staff can provide a warm welcome as well as taking care of a various practical issues.

Developing Accessible Tourism

Destinations can – and must – play a key role in binding together the accessibility efforts of local tourism businesses. They can help to design itineraries for customers, pointing out the various attractions, shops, food and drink outlets and accommodation that make up the “chain of accessibility” which can support them throughout their stay. Also, it is essential that public spaces, pavements and local transport meets access requirements, enabling freedom of movement at the destination for all visitors.

The example of leadership shown by VisitEngland should be followed by other National Tourist Boards (NTOs). If NTOs do not encourage their destinations to make services more accessible,  businesses will continue to under-perform as demand in this sector is inevitably going to increase in the coming years due to demographic ageing. While this market accounted for 11% of total overnight stays in England in 2009, the potential or unmet demand may be up to 25% and even higher in the coming years, as population ageing increases the proportion of elderly travellers with both minor and more severe impairments. Doing nothing to improve access will result in customers going elsewhere, to places where accessibility is an integral part of the offer.

Disabled people tend to be loyal to an accessible destination, staying longer and spending more. According to figures from Open Doors Organization (USA), American adults with disabilities or reduced mobility spend about $13.6 billion a year on travel. In Germany, the direct turnover generated by disabled travellers is estimated at €2.5 billion, and rises to €4.8 billion when including indirect effects. In Australia disabled tourists contribute up to 16% of tourism GDP and sustain up to 17% of jobs in the tourism sector, according to research studies.

These figures could rise even higher in future if the gap between the potential customer base and the actual number of travellers can be reduced. In Germany, for example, about 37% of disabled people decided not to travel in the past due to a lack of accessible facilities. Yet 48% would travel more frequently if these were available and as many as 60% would be ready to pay higher travel costs for improved accessibility.

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New Sustainability Criteria for Destinations

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC) recently announced the second phase of its new Destination Criteria.

Overseen by GSTC’s Destination Working Group and managed by NGO partner Sustainable Travel International, the GSTC is once again soliciting input and comments from all travel and tourism stakeholders on this exciting project, ensuring diverse feedback is collected.

The Global Sustainable Tourism Council’s Criteria for Destinations are designed to orient destination managers, communities, and businesses toward the steps that are needed to sustain their natural and cultural assets, while benefiting local communities. The Destination Criteria complement the existing GSTC Criteria for Hotels and Tour Operators, which have become a worldwide standard for tourism businesses.

Based on the results of the first phase of this project, which included an international public call for feedback and pilot testing of the criteria in six Early Adopter Destinations around the world, the GSTC has revised and improved the Destination Criteria.

The new draft version is available for public consultation and input until February 15, 2013.

These comments, along with feedback received via early-adopter destinations, will inform a final version of the Destination Criteria.

More info:

TrendSpotting 2013 is Here!

The abouTourism Trendspotting compilation is here to give you the whole picture of where the tourism and travel industry is headed in 2013 and beyond ! 

2013 is more about developing instant, personalized & bookable services. For destinations and tourism companies, what matters is offering customized and relevant information by gaining access to large amounts of data from multiple sources.

Consumer technology is changing traveler behavior and expectations. Organizations and companies try to keep up with the latest advancements focusing on cost optimization and performance enhancement while they also need to increase their focus on how technology can better meet their travelers’ needs.

The global travel industry is experiencing a continuing upward trend due mainly to an economic boom in Brazil, Russia, India, China and in other developing countries. More and more organizations worldwide are adapting their business models to take advantage of opportunities in emerging markets and especially the BRICS. But what about the SLIMMA and the TUsCKns markets?

Click here for the new TrendSpotting 2013 to check out all the latest Tourism & Travel Trends!

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U.S. Outbound Travel Forecast & Business Travel Prospects-Market Analysis

Soon after it was officially announced that U.S. international outbound travel has increased-with U.S. travel to overseas markets reaching 20.0 million until August, up 7 % this year- a new research from GBTA Foundation, analyzing the business travel impact of expiring tax cuts and automatic spending reductions – commonly referred to as the “fiscal cliff” –warns that if the U.S. economy falls over the “fiscal cliff,” it would have an immediate and severe impact on U.S. business travel.

The U.S. Office of Travel & Tourism Industries (OTTI) recently announced that U.S. international outbound travel was up 4% in August 2012, and up 3% for the year, with 42.2 million American travelers departing during the first eight months of 2012. U.S. travel to overseas markets reached 20.0 million, up 7 percent this year.

More specifically from the 47% of all U.S. outbound international travel, Europe received the largest share at 19%.

At the same time, a new research from the Global Business Travel Association Foundation (GBTA) addresses a bid dilemma, showing that if the U.S. economy falls over the “fiscal cliff”, it would have an immediate and severe impact on U.S. business travel and slash some $20 billion in travel. However, failure to address deficit spending also will have negative long-term effects.

The report models the potential business travel impact of two scenarios – one in which the fiscal cliff takes effect, and one where no changes are made to current tax and spending provisions.

  • Fiscal Cliff Scenario: If the fiscal cliff occurs, the U.S. economy would enter a recession. This would lead to a total loss of $20 billion in spending on U.S. business travel over the next nine quarters – a 2.5% decline – and a reduction of 32 million business trips.

However, the elimination of tax cuts and reductions in federal spending would lead to reduced deficits and lower interest rates over the long run, resulting in business travel spending and an overall economy that grows more quickly after absorbing the shock of the fiscal cliff.

  • No Fiscal Restraint Scenario: If all provisions of the fiscal cliff are eliminated or delayed indefinitely, business travel would experience more robust trip volume and spending as a result of stimulus from lower tax rates and continued government spending. In the near term, this scenario would lead to a cumulative loss of only 300,000 business trips and a gain of $5.5 billion in total business travel spending over the next nine quarters.

However, by 2014, much of the spending growth would be attributed to higher inflation. Larger budget deficits and growing debt will begin to take a toll, and business travel spending growth would continue to slow beyond the forecast horizon.

It is worth mentioning that according to a previous report by GBTA, American business travelers were expected to take 437.9 million trips this year, down 1.2% from an estimate made in April by the travel and meetings trade group. The outlook for next year was even worse, with the trade group lowering its forecast to 435 million trips, down 1.9% from April’s estimate. At the same time – due to higher prices-  the trade group expected overall travel spending to rise 2.2%  this year to $256.5 billion, and then increase another 4.7% next year to $268.5 billion.

More info:, OTTI.

UNWTO Online Tourism Campaign

With one billion tourists traveling the world in a single year in 2012, transforming these one billion tourists into one billion opportunities is at the heart of the online campaign launched by UNWTO to celebrate this historic milestone.

Recalling the power of travel and tourism in driving economic growth and sustainable development, the One Billion Tourists: One Billion Opportunities campaign asks the public to vote for the travel tip they believe would have the greatest benefit for the people and places they visit, from using public transport to buying locally, and pledge to follow that tip when traveling.

“Imagine the difference one tourist could make by adopting small changes, from using their towels for more than one day, to hiring a local guide or buying local products. Now imagine if these simple actions were multiplied by one billion; that is the power of one billion tourists,” said UNWTO Secretary-General, Taleb Rifai, launching the campaign at the World Travel Market (WTM) in London.

UNWTO is encouraging all countries and the entire tourism sector to spread the word about the campaign by becoming official campaign partners and hosting their own celebrations on 13 December, raising awareness of the important contribution of one billion tourists, by voting for the best tip, by joining the Thunderclap campaign or sending travelling photos for UNWTO’s One Billion Facebook album.

The campaign will culminate on 13 December when the most popular tip will be revealed and sent out to millions via social media. The date, 13 December, has been chosen as the symbolic arrival day of the one-billionth tourist. While it is impossible to know exactly when and where the one-billionth tourist will arrive, UNWTO forecasts point to December. The arrival of the one-billionth tourist will be celebrated by the UNWTO Secretary-General in Spain, home to UNWTO headquarters.

Source: UNWTO

Travel Trade Events- Effective Targeting & Strategic Cooperations

Within the framework of its tourism marketing action plan, the City of Athens, through the Athens Development and Destination Management Company (ADDMA)  has reached a strategic agreement with the European Tour Operators Association (ETOA) for the organization of a series of annual B2B workshops under the name “Travel Trade Athens”.

The first Travel Trade Athens 2013, will be held on the 22nd & 23rd of April 2013, at the New Acropolis Museum in the Greek Capital.

Travel Trade Athens 2013

This 3-day trade event comprises of pre scheduled appointments with local suppliers, thematic visits around Athens and social events for at least 80 hosted buyers including tour operators, conference and meeting organizers and distinguished journalists from Europe and the USA.

The hospitality program aims at showcasing and promoting the tourism product of Metropolitan Athens and at creating the appropriate channels of cooperation between the local tourism industry and hosted buyers targeting the Athens market, in order to acquaint hosted buyers with the city’s tourism infrastructure and major points of interest.

Up to 200 businesses and suppliers from all sectors of the local tourism industry will participate in a round of 32 preset B2B appointments in order to present their services and products and to discuss ways of cooperation with the hosted buyers.

Major destination stakeholders such as the New Acropolis Museum, the Athens International Airport, Aegean Airlines and the Athens Convention Bureau have already announced their support, while many other sponsors and supporters will be announced shortly.

As the Executive Director of ETOA, Mr. Thomas Jenkins, said: “Athens attracts foreign visitors for over three thousand years now. It thus holds a unique position among European cities. This means that as our members bring visitors from all regions of the world to Europe, Athens is, actually, the ideal place for a workshop. The event will take place in the New Acropolis Museum, across from one of the most prominent attractions of the world: an international workshop in a setting of international importance.”

We are looking forward to it!


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Trending: Adventure Travel & Responsible Tourism

Supported by a global trend towards itinerant traveling, back to nature and authenticity, responsible travel markets showed encouraging signs for the summer season: adventure tourism and trekking continues to attract travelers interested in nature and in local community meetings; voluntourism is democratizing and developing a growing number of customers on a really niche market; eco-tourism is doing well despite the crisis, affecting less the higher income travelers; participatory tourism especially in urban areas increases but is still very dependent on the weather and individual last minute bookings.

Within a difficult economic climate, travelers are looking to cut costs without losing quality of services; looking for travel adapted to their expectations, they are increasingly likely to move toward tour operators specializing in tailor-made travel. At the same time, atypical, original and environmentally responsible accommodations are still valued in regions where the territory’s identity turned to authenticity, the landscapes and to sustainable development policy.

When leaders of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), WWF International and Google addressed more than 600 tourism industry professionals during the 2012 Adventure Travel World Summit in Lucerne, Switzerland in October, a common refrain emerged: “adventure travel” had arrived as a new face of responsible tourism.

“Adventure tourism is what tourism should be today and definitely what tourism will be tomorrow,”said Mr. Taleb Rifai, Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) referring to inevitable shifts in the leisure tourism market toward more experience-based, responsible and lower-impact – environmentally and culturally – travel.

Later in the week, WWF corroborated the trend toward more responsible tourism, upping the ante by introducing a new travel division with new leadership, while Google’s chief of travel, Rob Torres, indicated serious consumer trending toward more experience-based, responsible tourism. In additional keynote and concurrent sessions, tourism, conservation and technology leaders such as Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques-Yves Cousteau and co-founder of Blue Legacy and Darrell Wade, CEO of PEAK Adventure Travel indicated a shift in attention on the global stage to the power of adventure travel as an economic driver, as a force of sustainable development and one that delivers to travelers transformative experiences in nature, culture and active travel.

Sources: ATTA, TIES

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