Cruise ship AdobeStock Ruth P. Petekin

ABTA survey upbeat about cruise and solo travel trends

The ABTA Holiday Habits survey has found that cruise consumers are continuing to diversity and more consumers are taking solo trips, with an increase in almost all age demographics. 

Cruise holidays are gaining in popularity with younger travellers - the survey found that 12% of 18-34-year-olds are looking to go on a cruise in the next 12 months, up from 11% of 18-24-year-olds in 2017 and 9% of 25-34-year-olds in the same timeframe. 53% of 18-24-year-olds surveyed told ABTA they are interested in taking a cruise but have not done so previously, a 3% increase from 2017. In the 25-34 age group, the figure stood at 45% in this year's survey.

In the past 12 months, 8% of respondents had been on a cruise, a 1% increase from 2017, 75% had never been on a cruise and 39% said they have not been on a cruise but are interested. Of respondents who had been on a cruise, people aged 65 and over are most likely to want to take another cruise (29%).

People who have taken cruise holidays cited the quality of food and beverages and the chance to see multiple destinations as the top two attractions of cruise holidays.

Meanwhile, the ABTA survey found that 15% of respondents had chosen to go on holiday alone in the past 12 months, up from 12% in 2017 and up three-fold since 2011, when the figure stood at 6%.

Having the opportunity to do what they want was cited as the main reason for travelling alone at 76%, up 3% from 2017, and rising to 92% in the 35-44 age group.

ABTA attributed the rise in sole travel to a number of factors, including increased availability of Wi-Fi making it easier for solo travellers to keep in touch with friends and family and share holiday pictures on social media, travel apps and websites making navigating unfamiliar destinations less daunting, and the increase in options for solo travellers, such as joining group tours or taking a cruise.

The destinations favoured by solo travellers differed slightly from other holidaymakers. Asia proved particularly popular with 22% of solo travellers visiting the continent in the last 12 months compared with 15% overall. The Arctic and Antarctic also scored higher with solo travellers than the overall average at 2% compared to an overall figure of 0.8%.

Mark Tanzer, ABTA chief executive, said: "Going on holiday by yourself means you don't have to compromise on your choice of destination, your itinerary or the activities you take part in - whether they are single or just want some 'me time', people now have an incredible choice of holidays and destinations to choose from and it has become so much easier to explore the world."

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