ABTA report reveals 68% holidayed in the UK during past year

The leaves are falling, the temperature is dropping and the daylight is dimming. This can only mean one thing: the results of the annual consumer survey by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) are revealed. Oh, and autumn has started too.

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We’ve taken a look at the results, which are hot off the press, and some of the findings sure are interesting. A nationally representative sample of 2,001 consumers – that extra one makes all the difference – was surveyed and the results show how you, our guests, choose to spend your free time. The most eyebrow-raising statistic that I noticed, was that a hefty 68% of those questioned had taken a holiday in the UK during the past year, while 41% had taken a holiday both in the UK and abroad.

Interestingly enough, those that had simply chosen to go abroad (53%) had done so for a different reason to last year’s respondents. Rather than heading for sun, the main reason people went further afield was to ‘get away from it all’.

While the overall number of people taking holidays has increased in recent years, as many families start to emerge from the recession, holidaymaker figures saw a slight dip from last year. While those fortunate enough to take a break both in the UK and abroad saw an upturn of 2% from last year’s 39%. It was also interesting to see you, our guests, taking more holidays. Those aged between 25 and 34 and 35-44 are holidaying more regularly than last year.

And it’s actually the first time since 2011 that the 25-34 age group has been the best-travelled age group with 3.7 breaks, overtaking the younger and responsibility-free 16-24s who had enjoyed 3.4 breaks.

How and who people travel with is equally as enlightening. Fifty per cent of those questioned only took breaks with their partner. This suggests that they are yet to have a family, or perhaps their family have flown the nest. Thirty-five per cent chose to travel in immediate family groups, that is parents and immediate children, while 19% chose to travel with a larger family group of cousins as well as aunts and uncles. We see a variety of party make-ups at Center Parcs; the hotel rooms at Woburn Forest are ideal for couples and friends, while our Lodges are decked out and ready to welcome bigger family groups.

Checklist for guests
The survey also highlighted 10 things that are most important to people booking a holiday or short break. I’m delighted to recognise that Center Parcs tick half of those boxes. They are:

  • Safe/secure accommodation (86%) – All of our Villages have exceptionally low levels of crime and are extremely safe; a team of security staff monitor the Village 24-hours a day.
  • Knowledgeable staff (68%) – Have you spoken to our Contact Centre staff? Not to mention the well-trained activity leaders and restaurant staff.
  • Best value (66%) – Each and every Center Parcs break gives you access to a host of free things to do. First off there are the up to 400-acres of forest to explore. At the heart of each Center Parcs Village is also the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, maintained at a comfortable 29.5°C so whatever the weather outside it’s always summer inside.
  • Ease of transport (59%) – Offering UK short and weekend breaks, ease of access is important to us. We aim to have a Village within a 2-hour’s drive of all English addresses.
  • Name recognition (56%) – Thanks to you, our guests, we are the number one short break destination in the UK. See for yourself by joining us for a break. Just don’t forget to spread the word to family and friends afterwards!

With another year gone by I look forward to seeing next year’s results and how you all will shape them. Do you fit into these statistics? How will you be doing it differently next year? Let us know in the comments below.

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Simon Jarratt

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Simon Jarratt

I am the Digital Acquisition and Media Manager and have worked at Center Parcs for more than five years. I have a passion for travel in my working and personal life; because of this you’ll find me writing about the latest news in the travel industry and short break market.