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Brits refuse to sacrifice summer holiday

The annual family holiday is still a major priority for Brits

[December 1st 2008]

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The annual family holiday is still a major priority for Brits a new survey by professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers reveals.

In November PwC asked consumers “Thinking about the upcoming New Year, what do you think will be your top spending priority during 2009?” Debt repayment was the number one answer with 20%, but close by in second place with 16% was “large holidays”.

Head of Travel at PricewaterhouseCoopers, Malcolm Preston, comments: “During the boom era we would expect to see a far higher proportion of people prioritising travel and holidays, so undoubtedly the industry is not immune to the downturn. However, these results show the UK consumer is still set on escaping the recession depression and [aside from paying off unsecured debt] refuse to sacrifice the summer or family holiday.”

When PwC asked consumers the same question back in April this year, over 1500 consumers ranked holidays and short breaks as the top two spending priorities for 2008, and debt repayment ranked only number eight.

But in the latest survey of consumer spending priorities, short breaks plummeted from second to eighth place, with only 2% of respondents saying they would put cash aside first and foremost for such trips.

“As consumer confidence has fallen over the last six months, the popularity of short, city breaks is dropping. This is a result of the UK jet set culture reverting to reliance on one, long holiday,” observes Preston.

“We expect to see people being more cost conscious during this period and also reducing their main holiday by a matter of days. The collapse of XL impacted tour operator planning and shortening of holiday duration could also force a further flight timetable re-jig,” Preston adds.

The new survey also shows that high net worth individuals and higher income families still believe buying a holiday is the top priority, above repaying their household debt.

Looking ahead, Preston says: “It will be a white knuckle ride for the travel industry as they adapt to the changing shape of the UK consumer’s holiday. Those who are flexible and switch the emphasis from the discretionary short break to the semi-discretionary main holiday, and provide value for money for those who still have cash, will maintain a strong market position”.

Written by: Nick Purdom

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