Thursday, 9 November 2023, 11:56
Large numbers of British tourists are already planning their holidays to the Costa del Sol in 2024, but next year it might be slightly different to other years.
During the final day of the World Travel Market (WTM) in London, British tourism officials revealed new data and trends which showed more people from the UK - the biggest market for the Costa del Sol - are planning on travelling to the south of Spain before and after peak summer to avoid the heat in 2024.
The Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA), the UK's leading travel trade association, unveiled a report published recently which analyses how Brits plan to travel over the next 12 months. It shows that "this year's record temperatures in popular holiday destinations from southern Spain to the Alps are causing many to re-evaluate their future strategy," Mark Tanzer said, chairman of ABTA.
In addition to the UK's struggling economy and a growing awareness for climate change and sustainability, it predicts British tourists will travel outside peak summer periods. The growing travel trend is expected to cause May and June to be the most popular months in the coming year. ABTA also said similar levels of tourists will travel in September and October, instead of July and August.
Some other countries are considering an extension to their high seasons as a result, such as Turkey and Greece.
The Junta de Andalucía's minister of tourism Arturo Bernal agreed it is necessary to continue adapting the tourism sector to become more sustainable, especially if the high season is lengthened, he pointed out the issue of low water levels in local reservoirs, which are dwindling at 30%. "It has become a liquid gold as important as oil in the Gulf countries. Responsible management and consumption is necessary," he said.
The UK's largest travel industry association, with an annual turnover of more than 40 billion pounds, said British tourists are still keen to travel despite new natural, man-made and technological challenges, from forest fires to strikes and unprecedented disruption to air traffic control, like what happened during Covid-19. "Despite this, bookings and travel confidence are strong," they said.
Data shows that 84% of Brits went on holiday last year and 52% took a trip abroad. Of those who travelled overseas, 61% utilised a holiday package. ABTA said this appetite for travel will continue in 2024, pointing out that 64% of Brits say they plan to travel abroad.
ABTA also looked at how sustainability affected Brits' holiday plans, noting that half of those who travelled in the past 12 months considered sustainability when making bookings. "This is a reminder of how important it is for the industry to continue its journey to make holidays more sustainable," they said. Tanzer also pointed out: "We firmly believe that tourism is a force for good and that we must balance the negative impacts with the huge social benefits it brings to travellers and destinations. The industry is committed to a net zero future and will achieve this by working with government, not against it. The challenges we face come against a backdrop of international conflict and economic stagnation. The horrific images from the Middle East and Ukraine are a reminder of how fragile the world order is, and we fervently hope for a resolution that will bring peace to both regions," he added.
Egypt and Turkey, the main competitors for Andalusian destinations, are starting to see the affects of nearby conflict. At the WTM they pointed out that tourism from Egypt plummeted by 40% at the start of the conflict between Israel and Hammas.
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