Despite increased pressure on household finances and a weak pound, particularly against the euro, British holidaymakers are still keen to book trips, with European destinations taking over from UK destinations - this is according to the ABTA Holiday Habits survey, released today in Seville at the organisation's Travel Convention. 

The survey found that in the 12 months to August 2018, 60% of British holidaymakers took a foreign holiday, compared to 57% in the previous year, the highest figure since 2011. While bookings are up, consumers are more budget-aware with their holiday spending, according to the survey - value for money is a priority for customers with package holiday bookings up to 60%, with a drop in the average spend from £586 to £562 on trips abroad. The average spend for holidays in the UK is down from £311 to £271 in the past 12 months,

Bookings by UK consumers to Greece were up 10%, Turkey recorded a 65% increase in visitors and in Bulgaria, there was a 21% increase in package holiday bookings from Britain. At the same time, the number of British staycations dropped from an average of 2.1 in 2017 to 1.8 in 2018. The report cited the 'Beast from the East' cold snap as a reason for this drop.

For 2019, 51% of survey respondents plan to spend the same amount of money on holidays as they did this year. While the number of people who plan to spend more is at 25%, down from 31% last year, there is no change in the number of people who plan to spend less, which remains steady at 14% for 2017 and 2018.

Holiday bookings for summer 2019 are already up 19% on this time last year, with 61% of respondents planning to take a European holiday in the next 12 months. However, 54% of survey respondents are concerned about the impact of Brexit on the cost of their holiday, up from 3% last year.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, said that "understandably" people have concerns about the impact of Brexit on their holiday costs but that it is "very encouraging that Europe tops the bill as the place they wish to visit next year, and holiday bookings are more widely looking positive for the year ahead."

Outside of Europe, the demand for good value package holidays has seen an increase in bookings to Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey. Destinations where the pound goes further, such as Asia are gaining in popularity with 13% of people planning to travel there in the next 12 months. ABTA cited low-cost long-haul flights to a range of Asian destinations as a factor in this upswing, along with a favourable exchange rate.

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