The official arrivals numbers that the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) put out just before Christmas and covering the month of September showed that year-to-date (January through September) departures for North America totaled 3,601,000—down 2 percent from the 3,112,000 registered for the same period in 2016, even if the month of September was stronger than it was in 2017. (Note: generally, about 90 percent of visitors to North America are destined for the U.S.)
Meanwhile, as the 2017 calendar year passed into history, two generally reliable industry authorities—ABTA and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)—issued year-end reports that, while not buoyant, were positive in their prospects for what 2018 holds for travel to the USA from the UK. Some highlights from the two reports:
—CAA said last Thursday (Dec. 28, 2017) that three million people were expected to book their holiday for the coming year within the next seven days, with more people expected to travel to the U.S. in 2018 than they did last year.
—According to CAA, Spain remains the top holiday destination for next year, while the U.S. is second on the list. Italy, which was the number-two destination in 2017, has dropped one place. The rest of the Top Ten are: 4.Greece; 5. France; 6. Portugal; 7. The Caribbean; 8. Australia; 9 Canada; and 10. Cyprus.
—Despite the weakness of the British pound driving up costs, the popularity of the U.S. is stronger than ever with over a million more people looking to travel to America than 2017.
—ABTA research shows a notable increase in people planning to spend more on their holidays in the next 12 months: More than three in ten people (31 percent) plan to spend more, compared to 24 percent who said this in 2016, with only 14 percent of people planning to spend less.
—Early bookings for overseas holidays also appear strong for 2018, with industry figures showing bookings for next summer tracking 5 percent above last year. This may be a reflection of the growing trend for early booking, with people keen to secure their preferred resort or destination in an increasingly competitive market.
—City breaks and beach holidays are expected to remain the top holiday choices for 2018
—Over half of all holidaymakers (51 percent) are planning to take a city break and 47 percent are planning to take a beach holiday, an increase on numbers in the past 12 months.
—Almost a quarter of people (23 percent) are thinking of taking an all-inclusive holiday in 2018, with young families particularly attracted to this type of holiday, 34 percent of whom expect to take one in 2018.
—More than a third (36 percent) of Brits are confused about how Brexit will affect their holiday plans, with only 19 percent feeling well informed about the implications of Brexit. In spite of this, nearly two-thirds of people still intend to travel to Europe in the next 12 months, suggesting that British holidaymakers remain committed to Europe as a holiday destination