Published on Thursday, May 10, 2018

Holiday spend declines for first time in five years

A trend towards cutting back on consumer spending on holidays will lead to a busy lates market with 'many deals around', according to Deloitte's senior travel partner Graham Pickett.

Speaking at this week's Barclays Travel Forum, Pickett, who is Deloitte's global head of travel and aviation, said that, while 'consumer confidence remains high, leisure spending is dwindling'.

He told the audience: "Our surveys are showing a decline in consumer spend, particularly in holiday experience spend.

"I found that quite surprising. We've been running these surveys quarterly for four or five years and this is the first time we have seen a significant fall. It is a concern for me.

"Late bookings are going to be a challenge because there will be a bit of excess supply and capacity around. We will see a lates market and some deals."

Pickett told moderator Jeremy Skidmore he is 'optimistic but there's a fair degree of caution around'.

"The word inflation is back, sadly, and interest rate rises look likely in August or autumn. Interest rates have been so low for so long there's a generation of consumers out there wondering how that will affect their life. "

Pickett said city breaks and beach holidays have declined slightly in the last four years, while cruise holidays continue to increase.

Most of the audience members at the Barclays Travel Forum felt 2018 would be a good year for travel.

Meanwhile, Gavin Isle, Barclays head of UK coverage corporate banking told delegates: "I remain cautiously optimistic about the economy. What's key is having a really good understanding or your product and your market.

"The level of consumer debt and consumer borrowing is high and back to the levels of pre-crash. But consumers still want to go on holiday."

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