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Slow Travel - UK - January 2009

This has been the era of cheap, fast travel, with 14% growth in holidays by air over the past five years. However rising demand has led to growing congestion, the ‘war on terror’ has imposed security checks and delays, and concerns have grown over the effect of CO2 emissions on the environment. This presents opportunities for ‘slow travel’ modes to entice disgruntled fliers with an attractive cocktail of space, comfort, green credentials, efficiency and a revival of the ‘pleasures of the journey’.

Green altruism alone will not convert people from planes to trains and boats, and there is still plenty of life in the low-cost airline model. But in the long run the likelihood of high oil prices may spell the end of bargain basement flights and drive up demand for alternative modes.

This report provides an overview of overseas slow travel, investigating the core market factors, strengths and weaknesses, company developments/innovations, consumer dynamics, and likely future trends.

Main report themes:

  • General holiday trends. Who goes where on holiday?

  • How people’s holiday intentions are being influenced in the face of changing economic conditions.

  • The demographics of slow travel and attitudes towards using different travel modes. The key selling points of rail and ferry travel.

  • The key companies involved in the slow travel sector and their market share, available products, services and innovations.

  • The impact of European high speed rail infrastructure, the Railteam alliance and “open access” in cross-border rail travel from 2010 on the slow travel market.

  • How competitive are overseas rail and self-drive options with air travel in terms of time, cost and more intangible factors?

  • Where will future growth in the slow travel sector be likely to occur?

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Table of contents

  1. Issues in the Market

      • Definitions
        • Abbreviations
        • Future Opportunities

          • The new austerity
            • Life after debt
              • Slow travel agencies
                • Nomadic Exploration
                  • Changing mind-sets
                  • Market In Brief

                    • Feeling the pinch
                      • Slow enthusiasts
                        • There will be blood
                          • Rail on track
                            • Pleasures of the journey
                            • Internal Market Environment

                              • Key points
                                • Tough times ahead
                                  • Figure 1: Overseas holidays volume and expenditure, 2003-08
                                • Homeward bound?
                                  • Figure 2: Domestic holidays volume and expenditure, 2003-08
                                • Alive and kicking
                                  • Figure 3: Scheduled passengers carried by main low-cost airlines, 2003-08
                                • Package cuts
                                  • Figure 4: Inclusive holidays versus independent holidays, by volume and value, 2003-08
                                • Focused spending
                                  • Figure 5: Percentage of adults booking UK and overseas holidays, 2003-08
                                • Short breaks under pressure
                                  • Figure 6: How long spent away on last holiday abroad, 2003-08
                                • Volume growth dries up in Med
                                  • Figure 7: Overseas holidays, by region 2003-08
                                • Is the long-haul party over?
                                  • Turkey grows fat on Spanish leftovers
                                    • Figure 8: Top 25 Holiday destinations, by estimated number of visits, 2003-08
                                  • Wait and see
                                    • Figure 9: How far ahead last holiday abroad was booked, 2003-08
                                  • Small change in spending patterns
                                    • Figure 10: How much spent on last holiday abroad, 2003-08
                                  • Plane vs train vs car
                                    • Figure 11: Price and journey time comparison of air vs rail vs tunnel/car travel, travelling February 2009
                                  • Rail ups its game…
                                    • …but still lags on longer trips
                                      • Load factor critical for cars
                                        • Figure 12: Price comparison of fly/drive vs tunnel/self-drive travelling February 2009
                                      • High-speed rail takes off
                                        • London-Amsterdam in 3.5 hours
                                          • Teamwork
                                            • Open access potential…
                                              • …but major doubts persist
                                              • Broader Market Environment

                                                • Key points
                                                  • Squeeze on services
                                                    • Figure 13: Trends in personal disposable income and consumer expenditure, 2003-13
                                                    • Figure 14: GfK NOP Consumer Confidence Index: Dec 2007-Nov 2008
                                                  • End of easy oil
                                                    • Figure 15: Crude oil prices, 2003-08
                                                  • Implications for travel modes
                                                    • Fluid and unpredictable
                                                      • AB growth likely to boost slow travel
                                                        • Figure 16: Forecast adult population trends, by socio-economic group, 2003-13
                                                      • Empty nesters take it easy
                                                        • Figure 17: Forecast adult population trends, by lifestage, 2003-13
                                                      • Winning the short break battle
                                                        • Figure 18: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, by gender, 2003-13
                                                      • Currency takes centre stage
                                                        • Figure 19: Sterling exchange rates at the beginning of each year, 2005-08
                                                      • Slow counter-culture
                                                        • Mainstream influence
                                                        • Competitive Context

                                                          • Key points
                                                            • Figure 20: Total overseas trips, by mode, 2003-08
                                                          • Fast vs slow travel
                                                          • Strengths And Weaknesses In The Market

                                                              • Strengths
                                                                • Weaknesses
                                                                • Who's Innovating?

                                                                  • Key points
                                                                    • Seat 61 fills gap in market
                                                                      • Rail groupies
                                                                        • Slow travel/food
                                                                          • Slow combo vs the aluminium sausage
                                                                            • Classic hols with a slow twist
                                                                              • Slow party
                                                                                • No more booze and fags
                                                                                  • Luxury rail revival
                                                                                  • Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                      • Past and present
                                                                                        • Figure 21: Total slow travel holiday trips, 2003-13
                                                                                        • Figure 22: Total overseas trips by slow travel mode, 2003-13
                                                                                      • Future
                                                                                        • Factors used in the forecast
                                                                                        • Segment Performance

                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                            • French connection
                                                                                              • Figure 23: Slow travel trips, by mode and destination, 2007
                                                                                            • Northern light but little southern comfort
                                                                                              • Figure 24: Slow travel share of total holiday market by destination 2003 and 2007
                                                                                            • Booking window
                                                                                              • Figure 25: How far ahead last holiday abroad by slow travel method was booked, 2003-08
                                                                                            • Shorter breaks/lower value
                                                                                              • Figure 26: How much spent on last holiday abroad, by slow travel method, 2003-08
                                                                                            • Shorter tunnel/longer seas
                                                                                              • Figure 27: How long spent away on last holiday abroad, by slow travel method, 2003-08
                                                                                          • Market Share

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Figure 28: Estimated overseas slow travel market share between UK and the Continent/Republic of Ireland 2008
                                                                                            • Eurostar powers ahead
                                                                                              • Struggle on the straits
                                                                                                • Spanish steps
                                                                                                  • Stena strength
                                                                                                    • North Sea gets choppy
                                                                                                    • Companies and Products

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • Overview
                                                                                                            • Figure 29: UK-overseas sea and tunnel crossing routes and operators, December 2008
                                                                                                          • Brittany Ferries
                                                                                                            • DFDS Seaways
                                                                                                              • E Rail
                                                                                                                • Eurostar
                                                                                                                  • Eurotunnel
                                                                                                                    • Great Rail Journeys
                                                                                                                      • Page & Moy Holidays
                                                                                                                        • Planet Rail
                                                                                                                          • P&O Ferries
                                                                                                                            • Rail Europe
                                                                                                                              • SeaFrance
                                                                                                                                • The Man in Seat 61
                                                                                                                                • Distribution

                                                                                                                                  • Key points
                                                                                                                                    • Agents eclipsed by DIY
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 30: How last holiday abroad was booked, 2003-08
                                                                                                                                    • Travel trade sticks to the skies
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 31: How last holiday abroad by ‘slow’ travel method was booked, 2003-08
                                                                                                                                  • Who Goes Where?

                                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                                      • Overseas vs domestic distinctions
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 32: All holidays taken in last 12 months, October 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Independent vs package
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 33: Type of package or independent holiday taken in last 12 months, October 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Multiple empty nesters
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 34: Number of holidays taken in last 12 months, October 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Beach seekers up north
                                                                                                                                        • Figure 35: Type of holiday abroad taken in last 12 months, October 2008
                                                                                                                                      • Slow second homers
                                                                                                                                      • Who Spends What?

                                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                                          • High spending ABs
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 36: Cost of all holidays in uk (including transport, accomodation and spending) in last 12 months, October 2008
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 37: Cost of all holidays abroad (including transport, accomodation and spending) in last 12 months, October 2008
                                                                                                                                        • Cost Concerns

                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                            • Figure 38: Holiday intentions for next 12 months, October 2008
                                                                                                                                          • Drivers of change
                                                                                                                                            • Holiday cutbacks
                                                                                                                                              • Figure 39: How increase in expense would affect holiday intentions, October 2008
                                                                                                                                            • Value hunters
                                                                                                                                            • How do Travellers Feel about Slower Modes?

                                                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                                                • Challenging assumptions
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 40: Agreement with statements regarding holidays abroad, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 41: Attitudes towards rail and sea travel, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                • Carbon credentials
                                                                                                                                                  • Room with a view
                                                                                                                                                    • Sea food wins out
                                                                                                                                                      • Too slow but romantic
                                                                                                                                                        • Rail explorers
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 42: Attitudes towards slow travel, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                        • Heavy baggage
                                                                                                                                                        • Targeting Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                                                                            • Target groups based on statements towards ‘slow travel’
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 43: Segmentation of attitudes towards slow travel into target groups, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 44: Classification of attitudes towards slow travel and response to them, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                            • Slow enthusiasts
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 45: Target groups’ enthusiasm for rail travel after open access in 2010, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                            • Rail optimism
                                                                                                                                                              • Rail romance
                                                                                                                                                                • ‘Short breakers’
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 46: Target groups’ enthusiasm for short breaks, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                • Curious but unconverted
                                                                                                                                                                  • ‘Petrol heads’
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 47: Target groups’ enthusiasm for european self-drive touring holidays, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                  • The open road
                                                                                                                                                                    • ‘Off the rails’
                                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 48: Target groups’ agreement with statement: I am put off rail holidays abroad by bad rail services in the uk, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                    • UK rail deterrent
                                                                                                                                                                      • ‘Not interested’
                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Who Goes Where?

                                                                                                                                                                        • By demographics
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 49: All holidays taken in last 12 months, by detailed demographics, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 50: All UK, European and holidays abroad taken in last 12 months, by detailed demographics, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 51: Type of package or independent holiday taken in last 12 months, by detailed demographics, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 52: Place of package or independent holiday taken in last 12 months, by detailed demographics, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 53: Number of holidays taken in last 12 months, by detailed demographics, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 54: Type of holiday abroad taken in last 12 months, by detailed demographics, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Who Spends What?

                                                                                                                                                                        • By demographics
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 55: Cost of all holidays in uk (including transport, accomodation and spending) in last 12 months, by detailed demographics, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 56: Cost of all holidays abroad (including transport, accomodation and spending) in last 12 months, by detailed demographics, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Cost Concerns

                                                                                                                                                                        • By demographics
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 57: Holiday intentions for next 12 months, by detailed demographics, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 58: How increase in expense would affect holiday intentions, by detailed demographics, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – How do Travellers Feel About Slower Modes?

                                                                                                                                                                        • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 59: Agreement with statements regarding holidays abroad, by detailed demographics, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 60: Attitudes towards rail travel, by detailed demographics, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 61: Attitudes towards sea travel, by detailed demographics, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 62: Attitudes towards slow travel, by detailed demographics, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                      • Appendix – Targeting Opportunities

                                                                                                                                                                        • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 63: Target groups, by detailed demographics, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 64: Target groups, by attitudes towards slow travel, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 65: Target groups, by attitudes towards rail travel, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 66: Target groups, by attitudes towards sea travel, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 67: Target groups, by agreement with statements regarding holidays abroad, October 2008
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 68: Target groups, by attitudes towards changing travel habits if it became more expensive, October 2008

                                                                                                                                                                      Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                      • Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (ATOL)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Aldi Stores Ltd (UK & Ireland)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Asda Group Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                      • Association of British Travel Agents (The)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Bank of England
                                                                                                                                                                      • Bloomberg L.P.
                                                                                                                                                                      • BP p.l.c.
                                                                                                                                                                      • British Airways Plc
                                                                                                                                                                      • British Market Research Bureau (BMRB)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Brittany Ferries
                                                                                                                                                                      • BT Group plc
                                                                                                                                                                      • Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Co-operative Group
                                                                                                                                                                      • Condor Ferries
                                                                                                                                                                      • Deutsche Bahn
                                                                                                                                                                      • DFDS Seaways Limited
                                                                                                                                                                      • easyJet Airline Company Limited
                                                                                                                                                                      • Europcar International
                                                                                                                                                                      • Eurostar UK Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                      • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                      • Gfk NOP
                                                                                                                                                                      • Global Business Travel Association
                                                                                                                                                                      • Google UK
                                                                                                                                                                      • Government Actuary's Department (GAD)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Irish Ferries
                                                                                                                                                                      • J. Sainsbury
                                                                                                                                                                      • Lidl (UK)
                                                                                                                                                                      • Marks & Spencer
                                                                                                                                                                      • Office for National Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                      • Orange plc (UK)
                                                                                                                                                                      • P&O Ferries
                                                                                                                                                                      • Page & Moy Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                      • Passenger Shipping Association [PSA]
                                                                                                                                                                      • Rail Europe Travel Centre
                                                                                                                                                                      • Ryanair Holdings plc
                                                                                                                                                                      • SeaFrance Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                      • SpeedFerries Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                      • Superbreak Mini Holidays
                                                                                                                                                                      • T-Mobile (UK) Ltd
                                                                                                                                                                      • Tesco Plc
                                                                                                                                                                      • Thomas Cook Group PLC
                                                                                                                                                                      • Tiscali UK
                                                                                                                                                                      • Transmanche Ferries
                                                                                                                                                                      • Travelsphere Group
                                                                                                                                                                      • TUI Travel PLC
                                                                                                                                                                      • Virgin Mobile
                                                                                                                                                                      • Virgin Trains
                                                                                                                                                                      • VisitBritain
                                                                                                                                                                      • Vodafone Group Plc (UK)
                                                                                                                                                                      • WA Shearings
                                                                                                                                                                      • Waitrose
                                                                                                                                                                      • Wm Morrison Supermarkets

                                                                                                                                                                      Slow Travel - UK - January 2009

                                                                                                                                                                      £1,695.00 (Excl.Tax)