Industry Report: Fly-and-flop beach holidays are top of Brits’ wish list, says WTM London survey

Industry Report: Fly-and-flop beach holidays are top of Brits’ wish list, says WTM London survey

A fly-and-flop beach break is the favourite choice for Brits who want an overseas holiday next year, reveals research released today (Monday 1 November) by WTM London.

Almost half (43%) are planning to escape to foreign climes said a beach holiday would be their top choice.

The second most popular choice was a city break, cited by a third (31%) of respondents. Other popular options were adventure holidays (16%), cruise (15%), wellness (8%) and ski (7%).

Perhaps reflecting the fact that travel horizons have been very limited in 2020 and 2021, almost a quarter (23%) said they wanted to go long-haul, while 17% were content with a short-haul break.

And the method of booking also seems to reflect the widespread problems of holiday refunds and cancellations amid the pandemic, with a third of consumers (31%) saying they would book a package, and just 8% opting for accommodation in the sharing economy – such as AirBnB – while another 8% saying they would be happy with a DIY holiday.

The findings came from the WTM Industry Report, which polled 1,000 consumers about their travel plans – and 648 of them said they would like to have an overseas holiday next summer.

When quizzed by the pollsters about where they would like to go, the top hotspot was Spain, followed by other traditional European favourites such as France, Italy and Greece, and the USA – which has been off-limits for British holidaymakers since the pandemic took hold in March 2020.

The research will be welcome news for the beleaguered leisure travel trade, which has struggled with almost two years of turmoil, restrictions and confusing messages from ministers.

Research by Abta suggested summer 2021 bookings were 83% down on 2019 and almost half of travel companies reported no increase in 2021 bookings compared to last year, despite the vaccine programme which has seen more than 80% of eligible UK adults already fully jabbed.

Tourist boards from destinations such as Spain, France, Italy, Greece and the USA have already been ramping up their promotional activities over the summer to ensure their countries are front-of-mind with the trade and consumers.

And airlines and operators have been building up capacity as demand returns, especially when restrictions such as the traffic light system and PCR tests are eased.

WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, takes place over the next three days (Monday 1 – Wednesday 3 November) at ExCeL – London.

Simon Press, WTM London, Exhibition Director, said: “We have endured almost two years of travel restrictions and confusing, expensive regulations so it’s no surprise that almost half of holidaymakers want to head to a sunny beach resort – especially as the British summer has again been disappointing for staycationers.

“Most of us have been cooped up at home during lockdown and many of us are still working from home, so the prospect of relaxing on a sun lounger in the Med is very tempting.”




World Travel Market (WTM) Portfolio comprises leading travel events, online portals and virtual platforms across four continents, generating more than $7.5 billion of industry deals. The events are:

WTM London, the leading global event for the travel industry, is the must-attend three-day exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. Around 50,000 senior travel industry professionals, government ministers and international media visit ExCeL London every November, generating over £3.71 billion in travel industry contracts. In 2020, WTM Virtual facilitated 20,000+ meetings and held 42 live content sessions over the 3-days show.

Next live event: Monday 1 to 3 November 2021 at ExCel London

Next WTM Virtual: Monday 8 to 9 November 2021 – Virtual

Travel Forward London is the leading travel technology event, co-located with WTM London. Travel Forward is renowned for showcasing the next-generation technologies for the travel, tourism and hospitality industry. Over 19,000 travel officials and 150+ innovative solution providers attend for 3 days of cutting-edge insights, open debate and unrivalled networking opportunities. The combination of a 2-day conference, interactive exhibition and start-up showcase makes Travel Forward truly unique.

Next live event: Monday 1 November to Wednesday 3 November 2021 at ExCel London

Next Travel Forward Virtual: Monday 8 November to Tuesday 9 November 2021 – Virtual

London Travel Week, brought to you by WTM London, is the one-stop-shop for event hosts and visitors to be able to shape the next 12 months of travel together. The festival of events supports the global travel and tourism industry through capturing invaluable news and enhancing industry connections.

Next event: Friday 29 October – Friday 5 November 2021

WTM Virtual is the WTM Portfolio virtual platform, created to offer global delegates the chance to arrange one-to-one virtual meetings, to do business, attend conference sessions and roundtables, take part in speed networking and more. WTM Virtual embrace the global leading travel shows in one platform.

WTM Latin America takes place annually in São Paulo and attracts around 19,000 tourism professionals during a three-day event. The show offers qualified content, as well as networking and business opportunities. In its ninth edition – the first 100% virtual – WTM Latin America followed its focus on effective business generation and reached the milestone of 4,200 meetings held between buyers, travel agents and exhibitors.

Next event: Tuesday 5 to Thursday 7 April 2022 – Expo Center Norte, SP, Brazil

WTM Africa launched in 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. More than 6,000 travel industry professionals attend Africa’s leading inbound and outbound travel and tourism market. WTM Africa delivers a proven mix of hosted buyers, media, pre-scheduled appointments, on-site networking, evening functions and invited travel trade visitors.

Next event: Monday 11 to Wednesday 13 April 2022 – Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town

Arabian Travel Market (ATM) now on its 29th year, is the leading, international travel and tourism event in the Middle East for inbound and outbound tourism professionals. ATM 2021 showcased over 1,300 exhibiting companies from 62 countries across nine halls at Dubai World Trade Centre, with visitors from more than 140 countries over the four days. Arabian Travel Market is part of Arabian Travel Week. #IdeasArriveHere

Next in-person event: Sunday 8 to Wednesday 11 May 2022, Dubai World Trade Centre, Dubai

Arabian Travel Week is a festival of events taking place within and alongside Arabian Travel Market 2022. Providing a renewed focus for the Middle East’s travel and tourism sector, it includes ATM Virtual, ILTM Arabia, Arival Dubai, Influencers’ events and activations, as well as Travel Forward. It also features the ATM Buyer Forums, ATM Speed Networking Events as well as a series of country summits.

WTM Global Hub is the new WTM Portfolio online portal created to connect and support travel industry professionals around the world. The resource hub offers the latest guidance and knowledge to help exhibitors, buyers and others in the travel industry face the challenges of the global coronavirus pandemic. WTM Portfolio is tapping into its global network of experts to create content for the hub.

About RX (Reed Exhibitions)

RX is in the business of building businesses for individuals, communities and organisations. We elevate the power of face to face events by combining data and digital products to help customers learn about markets, source products and complete transactions at over 400 events in 22 countries across 43 industry sectors. RX is passionate about making a positive impact on society and is fully committed to creating an inclusive work environment for all our people. RX is part of RELX, a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers.


RELX is a global provider of information-based analytics and decision tools for professional and business customers. The Group serves customers in more than 180 countries and has offices in about 40 countries. It employs over 33,000 people, of whom almost half are in North America. The shares of RELX PLC, the parent company, are traded on the London, Amsterdam and New York Stock Exchanges using the following ticker symbols: London: REL; Amsterdam: REN; New York: RELX. The market capitalisation is approximately £33bn, €39bn, $47bn.*

*Note: Current market capitalisation can be found at

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World Travel Market brings the travel industry together through world-leading events, content and digital tools that make it easier for you to find personal and business opportunities and do more effective business.

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