Spain holidays are still the number one break of choice for thousands of Britons. Research from the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) highlighted the Mediterranean country’s ongoing popularity. Analysis of the International Passenger Survey (IPS) air travel figures showed nearly over 6,736 visitors flew to Spain in 1994 – roughly 5,000 more than any other country. In 2018, over 13,615 British tourists headed to Spanish destinations – roughly 11,000 more than any other country.
IPS figures also proved how the popularity of other countries has changed over the years.
In 1994, Greece came in second most popular place followed by Greece, USA, France and Portugal in the top five.
However, in 2018, Italy was in second place with the remaining top five consisting of Portugal, Greece and France.
Some destinations have experienced an enormous tourism boom among Britons.
For instance, UK holidaymaker visits to Mexico in 1994 stood at 18,778 whereas in 2018 visits were up by 3,500 per cent to 676,734.
Moreover, trips to Bulgaria have doubled since 19946 and it looks set to continue to increase its share of visitors – with bookings for summer 2019 up 16 per cent on last year.
ABTA research showed that package holidays continue to dominate the overseas UK holiday market.
This comes despite the emergence of other types of travel, with half of the holidays people take each year being package breaks – a figure that has held steady since 2014.
The format of a package holiday has changed dramatically over the decades, however.
In the 70s, a package holiday was often sold with the promise of a ‘home-from-home’ – the UK but with better weather.
Nowadays, tour companies offer packages that include tailor-made trips, tours that take people off the beaten track, adventure holidays, river and ocean cruises, well-being breaks and all-inclusive holidays.
Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association said: “The UK continues to be a nation in love with the foreign holiday as tens of millions of people head abroad each year, with package holidays still dominating a large proportion of the travel market.
“But how we’re holidaying now is quite different compared to the package breaks of the 1970s.
“Holidaymakers’ tastes are continually evolving, and the travel industry is adapting to the changing demands of customers; whether you want a two week cruise around the Caribbean, a cultural city break to Cadiz, a tailor-made trip to Mexico or seven days in the Costa del Sol, all of these options can be provided via a package holiday.
“With the introduction of the new Package Travel Regulations last year, more travel arrangements this summer are likely to be package holidays – offering customers the best form of protection.
“If you haven’t arranged your summer holiday this year, now is a good time to explore your options and book – whether that’s visiting a popular destination or somewhere new – holidaymakers will find that there are still good value breaks available this summer.”