According to new data made available by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS), while the number of package sales made by British travelers increased in 2015, those sales have fallen behind the pace set by the overall leisure market. The new data also show that, overall, overseas travel by UK travelers increase by nearly 10 percent last year; this includes travel to the USA. Final figures on travel to the USA are not yet available. Commenting on the increase, the British travel industry trade organization, Abta, said that the 9.4 percent rise in overseas travel in 2015 was “the largest annual rise in nearly 20 years.” Some highlights from the ONS numbers:
—Package holiday sales rose by 5.1 percent to 16.7 million in 2015.
—The total number of overseas breaks increased by 9.4 percent to 42.2 million over the same period.
—Total spending on all overseas holidays added up to £26.3 billion ($38.5 billion) in 2015 … the first time it has exceeded £25 billion ($36.6 billion) since the pre-recession year of 2008).
—Of this total, £11.5 billion were spent on package holidays.
—Package holidays accounted for 39.6 percent of all international leisure trips last year; they accounted for a 41.1 percentage share of the market in 2014.
—Even though share fell by 1.5 percentage points, the number of package holidays purchased in 2015 increased by 808,000 over 2014.
—Packages have been steadily recovering since 2010 (with the exception of 2012 when sales dipped by 1.8 percent) and have been growing at an average annual rate of 3.1 percent over the past five years.
—Package sales reached their lowest point in 2010 when British travelers purchased 14.3 million package holidays; 18.95 million packages were sold in 2006.
— The ONS figures also showed that the average amount spent on a package holiday in 2015 was £687 ($ 1,000) which was same as in 2014 and was also higher than the average for all holidays of £623 ($911) per trip.