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Published on Thursday, May 23, 2019

A third of millennials give up on foreign holidays as Brexit looms

Almost one in five holidaymakers is considering a staycation this year because of Brexit, according to new research by creative and media agency eight&four.

It found that 25 to 44 year olds are feeling the effects of Brexit the most, with a third of them giving up on a foreign holiday as a result.

In contrast, only 12% of over-45s were considering a staycation instead of a holiday abroad.

Better news for the travel industry is that 79% of Brits have either taken a package holiday in the past year or are interested in doing so in future, with the millennials the most likely to have done so.

Of those who have taken a package in the past year, 26% cited value for money as the key benefit, while 20% appreciated the no-hassle factor and 18% enjoyed the peace of mind of ABTA and ATOL protection.

The research also revealed that travellers were open to a range of experiences: 35% would be willing to take a cruise, 24% would consider a safari and 23% were even open to the idea of travelling to dangerous or difficult location where independent travel might be tricky.

Caroline Brosnan, head of marketing at eight&four, said: "The package holiday has reinvented itself as a relevant, budget-friendly option for young, price-conscious holiday-makers. As the number of holidays taken by 18-34s per year increases, the need for a hassle-free trip to be part of that mix has become really important - whether that's enjoying the indulgence of an all-inclusive, choosing a flight and hotel combo to avoid endless paperwork or discovering new experiences offered by a specialist package holiday.

"But whilst this presents a fantastic opportunity for package holiday brands to continue to evolve over the long term, the impact of Brexit does seem to be affecting holidaymakers' decisions over the short term."

The research also found that 23% of consumers still find it quicker and easier to use a high street travel agent, 21% appreciate the expertise and in-depth advice they offer, and 23% feel travel agents offer a more personal experience.

"High street travel agents could make a big comeback if they play the market right. Consumers on the whole recognise their value as experts and like the idea of speaking to a real person, which can sometimes be difficult with online travel booking sites," said Brosnan.

"The key challenge to overcome is the perception that they are expensive.

"As recent results suggest, high street travel agents need to adapt their offerings to suit the information-hungry millennial audience and budget-conscious Gen Zs if they are going to weather the storm."

The research also found that political unrest (64%) and crime (62%) are the issues most likely to put off UK holidaymakers from visiting other countries.

Additionally, 39% are put off by a poor human rights record, 29% by environmental damage and 18% by gender inequality in a potential holiday destination.

Only a third of millennials thought political unrest would stop them visiting a particular country. For this age group, social and gender inequality and a lack of LGBTQ+ rights were the biggest deterrents.

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