Encouraging reports about British tourism bookings


Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

According to a recent TravelMole article, British travel agents are reporting ‘exceptional’ days of trading so far this month. Some say forward bookings are up as much as ‘30-50 percent’ over the same period last year and that a third of summer holidays currently being offered in 2015 will be sold during January and February.

Based on early indications the most popular long haul destinations are within the Caribbean and in particular – Costa Rica, Mexico, Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Others far flung choices include Mauritius and the Maldives.

On the downside, the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) reported that short haul holidays are being boosted by the low value of the Euro against Sterling, making the Mediterranean much more affordable.

But conversely, the abolition of the dreaded Air Passenger Tax (APD) for children below 12 years is driving demand for destinations further afield. There is also a continuing trend for travellers booking further in advance. As a former tour operator for 12 years, I can tell you just how helpful that is in the overall scheme of things.

And especially, bearing in mind the new Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc (BTMI) quoted intent to attract a higher percentage of younger people to our shores, this early booking trend is being led by them – with 51 per cent of 15-24 years and 44 per cent 25-34 year olds choosing their holiday earlier in 2014. There is every indication these percentages will rise this year.

If we are ever going to maximise the use of marketing dollars, researched information like this is critical to achieving best results. Each year ABTA publishes a consumer report that reflects any trends that will help its members exactly how they are going to drive additional business and hopefully retain existing clientele. Bearing in mind it is based on a representative UK sample and in the particular case of the 2014 report, 2008 consumers took part.

Among some of the findings were: Package holidays continue to grow in popularity with just over half (51 per cent) of the population booking an overseas package holiday last year.

Of all overseas holidays offered in the UK, 20 percent were booked with a ‘High Street’ travel agent, 25 per cent with a travel agent online, 21 per cent directly with a tour operator and by far the single largest percentage 34 per cent, directly with the service providers (airline and/or hotel).

While fully understanding the desire or even need to attract a younger demographic, our tourism policy planners might like to read another conclusion in this report.

‘Younger holidaymakers are the most eager to try new destinations with almost half (49 per cent) saying this is quite likely. ‘Meanwhile older consumers are more conservative – over half (56 per cent) of over 65 years and (51 per cent) of 55-64 year olds said they would definitely not or would be unlikely to visit a country they had never been to’.

It’s a very fine balancing act.


Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

5 responses to “Encouraging reports about British tourism bookings

  1. Ponce de Leon

    Looks like good news for the Caribbean but not really for Bim. What about when Cuba opens up to the USA for tourism? What then?

  2. Party Animal

    Barbados Done

  3. The Moore

    As a destination, and in comparison, what does Barbados have which is worth visiting? Can someone please sell it to me!

  4. John Hanson 1781-1782- I SERVE 1788- 1792 BARBADOES.

    Better warn them about this tourist trap of massive fraud , buy no land and dont sit in front of a lawyer or Minister for you will be robbed , Enjoy the Sun , Beach and People and get back on the Plane, Check for Clear title to land and not goof title of fraud,

  5. Anonymous

    John Hanson, I hear you, it’s beyond a scandal. However, the land lawyers and fraud does not apply to the average tourist.
    You forgot to mention the feral attitude of anyone dealing with tourists, “charge as much as possible”; even admin at QEH and the check-in desk at Virgin, let alone the redcaps, are on a mission to pocket what they can get. It’s not just civil servants anymore or dodgy lawyers.
    The pound is very weak against the dollar at the moment, went below $3 for the first time in ages yet very strong against the euro.
    Air passenger duty for a family of 4 may be lowered (they’d save about £140) but this will be as nothing compared to the savings and cheapness due to favourable exchange rates, of a European skiing holiday (cheaper flights too) or for the coming Summer, cheaper, shorter flights and much more spending money when you enjoy Portugal Spain or France. Plus cheaper food, better food, and POLITENESS.
    A US or British tourist can expect a level of luxury on a French holiday this season they have not experienced for years. Posh restaurants, suddenly affordable, cheap hotel prices, affordable taxis and people looking after them who are desperate for work. Greece, for example, has nearly 50% unemployment.
    Then of course we have Cuba, the dream destination for so many who adore the music, are fascinated by the history let alone Havana itself and are keen to holiday there without having police monitoring your every move anymore.
    American citizens can now go there pretending they do so just because they love Hemingway and cigars, never mind how cheap it is to get there, miles of deserted beaches.
    Obviously Cubans are excited to be able to have their friends and family to visit from Miami and suddenly, golden opportunities of making tourist money are dazzling the ambitions of many a Cuban.
    Because Cubans have such a strong culture and so much to offer and hopefully have learned lessons from other failing Caribbean destinations, their Government will be firmly against selling off land to foreigners, at least for a while and their island (bigger, of course) won’t be turned into another Lime Grove flop.