Domestic Tourism Set For Further Growth

A survey of delegates at the British Tourism and Travel Show revealed that over three quarters (78%) are optimistic about the future of the domestic travel trade.

Just 5% said they were pessimistic, according to the BTTS Domestic Tourism Industry Snapshot Survey, completed before and during the March event by travel and tour operators, tourist boards, visitor attractions, destinations and hotels.

David Maguire, group event director said:“This is a really exciting time for British and Irish tourism.  Yes, there are challenges ahead but also plenty of potential for growth – reflected both at the show and in our latest survey results.  Visitor bookings are up and expected to stay up, with more people holidaying closer to home, while inbound tourism is enjoying a record high – with more overseas visitors than ever before,” he says.

The second Domestic Tourism Industry Snapshot Survey was completed before and during the event by travel and tour operators, DMOs, visitor attractions, destinations and hotels.  Its findings show continued positive growth for the sector and upbeat optimism for the opportunities ahead.

The survey found that 67% of respondents saw an increase in domestic visitor numbers and bookings in 2016, and 57% who completed the survey think that customer spending habits will improve over the next year.  78% are feeling either very or fairly optimistic about the future of the domestic travel trade.

A general consensus is that Brexit will continue to have an influence on future consumer spending (with mixed opinions on the actual impact of the Brexit vote on business’ prospects).  When asked specifically about the Brexit vote: 39% said last year’s referendum result had no discernible impact on their business, while 28% reported a positive impact.  The remaining 33%, many of whom also cater to the outbound tourism market, said it was already having a negative effect.  Notably, many respondents commented that it may be ‘too early to tell.’

As one may expect, value for money, experience and location (in that order) top the list of the three main factors their customers consider when booking an outing or trip.  Culture, accessibility catering, and being family friendly are next down the list.

An increase in staycations, more last minute bookings, a rise in inbound tourism (from China, the US and Canada, for example), a greater focus on experiential holidays and breaks, a rise in digitisation, more away days, and exploring lesser known locations outside of London, have been identified as some of the key trends to watch, among others.