British Tourism & Travel Show, organised by Diversified Communications UK, has released some of its interim findings from the 2017 BTTS 'Domestic Tourism' Industry Snapshot. The survey, which is still open, has been completed by a selection of nearly 100 tour operators, DMOs, visitor attractions, destinations and hotels to date.
The initial findings are extremely positive for the market, which enjoyed continued growth in 2016. Around two thirds of respondents (64%) say visitor numbers/bookings are on the rise (18% on average, up from 15% at the same time last year) and over half (54%) predict consumer spending to improve over the next twelve months.
Online/app bookings are also up by around 19%.
Overall, 77% are either very optimistic (30%) or fairly optimistic (47%) about the future of the domestic tourism trade. Although that is down from the 90% reported in March 2016 (at the time of the first BTTS survey), before the Brexit vote in June that year.
There is a general consensus that Brexit will continue to have an influence on future consumer spending. However, opinions are mixed on the actual impact of the Brexit vote on their business' prospects.
When asked specifically about the Brexit vote: 36% said last year's referendum result had no discernible impact on their business. While 29% reported a positive impact. The remaining 35%, many of whom also cater to the outbound tourism market, said it was already having a negative effect. Notably, many respondents commented that it may be 'too early to tell' the full impact.
Rising costs and general economic uncertainty doesn't change the fact that 'people still want to go on holiday'. Consumers are spending but they are taking other considerations into account. 'Value for money' has now overtaken all other factors that consumers consider when booking an outing or trip. Experience, cost and location (in that order) topped the list in last year's survey.
An increase in staycations, more last minute booking, a rise in inbound tourism (from China, the US and Canada, for example), and a greater focus on experiential holidays and breaks, have been identified as some of the key trends to watch, so far.
"This is a really exciting time for British and Irish tourism. Yes, there are challenges ahead but also plenty of potential for growth," says David Maguire, group event director of the British Tourism & Travel Show, which takes place later this month.
"By publishing these interim survey results ahead of the show, we want to highlight that the domestic tourism and travel trade is in good health. Visitor bookings are up and expected to stay up, with more people holidaying closer to home. While inbound tourism is enjoying a record high - with more overseas visitors than ever before.
"Travel and tour operators looking to take advantage of this growth will find a host of exciting new products and compelling destinations to offer their customers at British Tourism & Travel Show - the largest domestic tourism showcase of the year for the UK and Ireland," he says.
The full survey results will be revealed following the British Tourism & Travel Show, which takes place at the NEC Birmingham on 22-23 March.
The two-day event will showcase over 260 leading attractions, venues, destinations, hotels, transport providers, ticketing and travel technology providers, associations, and DMOs from across England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The show's Keynote line-up includes big names from TripAdvisor, Travelzoo UK, Euromonitor International, Travel GBI, Hudson's Heritage, and The Association of Group Travel Organisers (AGTO).
For more information and to register for a free ticket, please visit http://www.tourismshow.co.uk and use priority code BTTS1 (direct link: https://registration.n200.com/survey/3merbygtnzi4j?actioncode=BTTS1).
To take the BTTS17 Industry Snapshot Survey, please visit https://diversifiedfeedback.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_8pQZHCJHC3KwoDP