We have just put up on the RDO website, a paper on Travel trends 2010 prepared by Flagship, a UK based PR company, who act for and advise RDO and are themselves members of the organisation. It is well worth reading. This is of course an issue of real interest to RDO members for obvious reasons and is why at the RDO1 October Conference, we have asked the Director of the Travel and Tourism Research Institute at Nottingham University Business School, Leo Jago, to address the issue of what the next few years will hold for our industry in terms of travel trends as the world- and Europe in particular, struggles to come out of recession.
But what about 2010 for the UK? Well that paper shows that the 2009 “staycation” trend will continue, with families worried about job security, tax increases, the recurrence of ash clouds and the prospect of a possible summer of strikes at BA, unless the two sides can reach an agreement. The weather will of course be an important factor and if we have a bad summer, whatever the financial constraint, it is highly likely the desire to get abroad to the sun will reassert itself in 2011.
RDO members are of course well placed to meet any increased demand for holidaying in the UK, with member resorts located in some of the most beautiful and sought after areas of the British Isles. But let us not forget that whatever the fluctuations between the Euro/£ exchange rate, Spain and its Islands remain the most popular destination for UK timeshare owners and indeed I believe, for most UK holidaymakers, followed by the UK in second place.
On the Today Programme on BBC Radio 4 last Friday, I heard a financial analyst from a major European bank, predict that some European economies are expected to actually contract over the next 2 to 3 years, as they act to cope with their debt issues – I don’t believe he was specific in terms of the actual countries and perhaps we’ll need to wait until our Conference in October to hear in detail about this, but undoubtedly value for money, quality and reasonable travel costs are going to be key factors when holiday are being planned this year.
Another factor that is going to focus the minds of those of us interested in having a second home somewhere in the sun, is the likelihood of there being an increase in UK capital gains tax .This prospect seems to have been fairly comprehensively trailed in the media, no doubt at the new coalition’s behest, just to warm the public up. This of course leaves timeshare owners and many fractional owners – depending on the nature of the fractional –at a distinct advantage, as they can look forward to their holidays in the sun, without the risk of a hefty tax bill.
Of course RDO members are well placed both in the UK and the rest of the EU, to meet those needs and there will be many a timeshare owner blessing their foresight in buying timeshare in the past, that will allow them to holiday in peace of mind this year, knowing they have no accommodation costs to meet on holiday.
I do however believe that what we need to see more of here in the UK, is greater investment in many of the country’s small seaside resorts, allowing them to improve and modernise their facilities, yet at the same time preserving the unique characteristics of many of these towns. Happily this is taking place in a number of these resorts, but there is still much work to be done to compete with the best of mainland Europe.