The UK traveler’s likes, dislikes, concerns, use of brochures—and more—are summed up nicely in the WTM Global Trends Report 2016 that was released during last week’s 2016 WTM in London. While the summary findings of the report are generally published on online news channels and trade publications at the time of their release, much of the material is overlooked—usually until weeks or months later, when a travel supplier or DMO marketer is researching data on the UK traveler. We’ve reviewed the 64-page report and culled from it what we believe are the most useful findings, which follow.
Of Immediate or Overall Concern:
—When asked about Brexit, (the name given to the June 23, 2016 vote by Britons to leave the European Union) the top worry–cited by 44 percent of holidaymakers surveyed—was the pound sterling-euro exchange rate and how that will make holidays in EU destinations more expensive.
—The second concern, cited by 43 percent, was a more general worry about overall holiday costs rising.
—One third of those surveyed mentioned the potential loss of European Health Insurance Cards, and a quarter said they were concerned about longer passport queues at airports.
—However, just over a third (35 percent) had no concerns surrounding Brexit, while
—Almost half (43 percent) said they would like to see a return to the traditional blue UK passport when Britain does leave the EU.
—42 percent believe the June 23, 2016 Brexit referendum vote has had a negative impact on the UK’s reputation as a holiday destination.
—Almost half (47 percent) predict Brexit will have a negative impact on their organization and 30 percent will seek to increase prices
WTM GLOBAL TRENDS REPORT: Mega Travel Trends from the World’s Largest Trade Show Producer
Supersonic Flights Returning in 2018?
Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of senior industry executives, according to a WTM Global Trends Report, believe supersonic flying is likely to become a mainstream form of transport for travelers. Concorde, the first supersonic passenger jet, retired from service in 2003, following the tragedies of a Paris crash in 2000 and the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001. Now, several aeronautics firms are working on supersonic technology which could halve flight times and open up new long-haul destinations. NASA and the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are developing aircraft under the joint “Quiet Supersonic Technology” or QueSST project. They plan to build jets that fly more quietly than Concorde, which was famed for its loud sonic “boom” as it broke the sound barrier. The new planes could take to the skies as early as 2020 if the project receives funding as planned.
Banning Sale of Booze on Flights?
The issue of alcohol on flights and air rage is becoming increasingly concerning, with the number of “dangerous” in-flight incidents on UK airlines rising fourfold in three years, according to the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority. The CAA says UK airlines reported 85 air rage incidents in 2013, but the figure soared to 386 last year. Also:
—Figures from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) also show air rage is a global problem. Last year there were more than 10,854 incidents worldwide, equating to one incident for every 1,205 flights. The previous year, there were 9,316 incidents.
—More than a quarter of holidaymakers (27 percent) have experienced a disruptive passenger on a flight.
—Almost three quarters (73 percent) agreed with the recent decision by airline Jet2.com to ban the sale of alcohol on board in the mornings.
—A significant proportion (11 percent) involved physical aggression towards passengers or crew or damage to the aircraft.
—Alcohol or drug intoxication was identified as a factor in 23 percent of cases, though in the vast majority of instances these were consumed prior to boarding or from personal supply without knowledge of the crew, said IATA.
—As part of the budget carrier Jet2.com’s clampdown on bad behavior, over 500 passengers have been refused travel since 2015, with over 50 of these given lifetime bans.
Will a Cap on Tourism Solve Overcrowding?
In the matter of developing sustainable tourism product, three-quarters of the senior industry professionals surveyed for this year’s Global Trends Report agreed with the statement that “tourism caps are a practical solution to the problems of overcrowding.” Last year, when the same statement was put to respondents in the survey, 65 percent agreed. The increase highlights a growing problem faced by destinations and attractions that are becoming a victim of their own success and are finding themselves having to cope with overcrowding. Also:
—Of the 75 percent of respondents who agree with the measures, 30 percent said tourism caps are “somewhat useful.”
—27 percent think they are “quite useful.”
—8 percent find caps to be “extremely useful’ in dealing with the problem.
—Only 5 percent said tourism caps are ‘not at all’ a practical solution to overcrowding and 11 percent said caps are “not very” useful.
The 2015 report highlighted a marked difference between the number of industry professionals that thought tourism caps were a good idea in theory, and those who approved the measure in practice. However, this year’s results show this gap is narrowing.
—When asked whether caps would be a good thing for their own city, company or destination,
—61 percent of those who took part in the 2016 research agreed.
Only 8 percent said caps had no benefit to their own city/company/ destination.
—5 percent said a cap was “not very” useful.
—Last year only 36 percent agreed that a cap would be a good thing for their own city, company or destination, with 34 percent disagreeing.
Fear of Terrorism
Terrorism is the number-one concern for British holidaymakers, and travel industry officials say terror attacks have had the greatest impact on their business in the past year.
—Of the British holidaymakers who went abroad this year, 38 percent said the threat of terrorism was a concern, with 9 percent admitting to being ‘extremely concerned’.
—On the plus side, 40 percent said they were not concerned at all–despite several high-profile terror attacks in the past year.
There is clear evidence global terror incidents, such as the Nice Bastille Day massacre, the Istanbul Ataturk Airport attack and terror campaigns in Tunisia, have affected tourism.
—More than three quarters (76 percent) of key industry executives said terrorism has impacted their business in the past year.
—Of the 76 percent, one in three said terrorism had a “significant” impact, while 43 percent said it had ”some” impact.
—Only 24 percent said terrorism had no impact at all.
The Print Brochure May be on the Way Back
The use of the traditional holiday brochure as part of the booking process appears to be making a comeback, with a third of holidaymakers saying they relied on brochures this year. More than one third (34 percent) of those who booked a holiday in the past year used a brochure as part of the process and comparative figures from 2015 and 2014 show that – far from dying out – the holiday brochure is enjoying resurgence.
Source: UK holidaymakers survey cited by WTM Global Trends Report 2016, in conjunction with Euromonitor International
The results suggests that those operators that are looking to ditch the brochure for good could be missing out on potential business. Thomson and First Choice plan to ditch brochures entirely by 2020, with managing director Nick Longman saying things have moved on since the days when people used to “spend hours flicking through the brochure and decide where they wanted to go.”
To see more, you can access the full WTM report here: file: