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Special Interest Holidays - UK - April 2019

Covered in this report

This report examines the current and potential market for holidays overseas and within the UK which are taken specifically to pursue a hobby or interest. This encompasses diverse areas such as history/culture, nature/wildlife, food & drink, arts & crafts, astronomy and language learning, Adventure travel and other types of specialist physical activity holidays are often considered to be a separate market, but this market overlaps with special interest and is also included.

“Special interest breaks are in sync with underlying trends towards more active styles of holidaymaking, ‘travel with a purpose’ and a wider consumer agenda of wellness which embraces physical fitness, stress relief and self-improvement.”
– John Worthington, Senior Analyst

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Work/life balance breaks
  • Untapped demand amongst working women
  • Switching gears

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Holidays at high watermark but challenging months ahead
              • Six in 10 adults are holiday hobbyists
                • Companies and brands
                  • But specialist brands capture a small slice of the potential market
                    • Figure 1: Method of booking last special interest holiday, UK versus overseas, February 2019
                  • High degree of fragmentation
                    • The consumer
                      • History buffs/culture vultures, creatives, foodies and nature lovers are the biggest interest groups
                        • Figure 2: Participation in special interest holidays, February 2019
                      • Walking breaks taken by over half of physical activity holidaymakers
                        • Figure 3: Participation in physical/sporting activity holidays, February 2019
                      • Partners are preferred companions but solo traveller component is high
                        • Figure 4: Preferred companions on a special interest holiday, February 2019
                      • Specialist branded share could rise from 11% to 19%
                        • Figure 5: Special interest holidays, interests and opportunities, February 2019
                      • Gateway to the ‘real country’
                        • Figure 6: Special interest holidays, drivers and motivations, February 2019
                      • Target groups
                        • What we think
                        • Issues and Insights

                          • Work/life balance breaks
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • Untapped demand amongst working women
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                      • Switching gears
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                            • Domestic tourism fall suggests consumers may be cutting back on ‘top-up’ breaks
                                              • Holidays abroad reach record high but challenging months lie ahead
                                                • Reading and cookery are the nation’s favourite pastimes
                                                  • Hands-on hobbyists
                                                    • Travel with a purpose
                                                    • Market Background

                                                      • Wage rises helping to sustain consumer spending amid huge uncertainty
                                                        • Domestic breaks have fallen since heatwave summer
                                                          • Figure 7: Trends in the number and value of domestic holidays taken by UK residents, 2013-18
                                                        • Overseas holidays hit new record in 2018 but 2019 likely to prove more challenging
                                                          • Figure 8: Trends in the number and value of overseas holidays taken by UK residents, 2013-18
                                                        • Turkey resurgent in package market and Italy takes market share from France
                                                          • Figure 9: Top 15 overseas holiday destinations, by number of trips, January-September 2018 versus 2017
                                                        • Reading, cooking and DIY/gardening are the nation’s top hobbies
                                                          • Book group breaks
                                                            • Instagram gardeners
                                                              • Figure 10: Participation in hobbies and interests, November 2018
                                                            • Hands-on hobbies appeal in digital age
                                                              • Wellness industry helping to drive ‘travel with a purpose’
                                                              • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                • Travelopia is largest group in adventure travel sector
                                                                  • Crystal and Hotelplan lead snowsports market
                                                                    • Martin Randall and Specialist Journeys are among the leading ‘hobby’-based companies
                                                                      • Saga offers themed escorted tours for over-50s
                                                                        • Learning breaks with local teachers
                                                                          • Tour and activity suppliers are helping to drive interest in ‘experiential travel’
                                                                          • Special Interest Holiday Brands

                                                                            • Mainstream tour operators
                                                                              • Activity & adventure brands
                                                                                • Travelopia
                                                                                  • Other adventure brands
                                                                                    • Figure 11: Leading UK adventure travel tour operators, March 2019
                                                                                  • Other activity brands
                                                                                    • Other special interest brands
                                                                                        • Figure 12: Selected special interest holiday companies that are members of AITO, March 2019
                                                                                      • Escorted tour operators
                                                                                        • Intermediaries
                                                                                          • Holiday activity and experience providers
                                                                                          • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                            • Wellness and adventure
                                                                                              • Photography and adventure
                                                                                                • Luxury cooking in the Caribbean
                                                                                                  • Astro-tourism
                                                                                                    • DIY special interest holidays
                                                                                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                      • History & culture, food & drink, wildlife and physical activities are most popular special interest holidays
                                                                                                        • Walking, watersports and cycling lead physical activity segment
                                                                                                          • Wildlife watching, gastronomy and astronomy/science have biggest growth potential
                                                                                                            • Interest in using specialist operators is nearly double their current market share
                                                                                                              • Hobby solos
                                                                                                                • Mintel’s target groups
                                                                                                                • Experience of Special Interest Holidays

                                                                                                                  • Six in 10 adults have travelled to pursue a hobby
                                                                                                                    • History/culture, foodie and wildlife trips are most popular
                                                                                                                        • Figure 13: Participation in special interest holidays, February 2019
                                                                                                                      • Hobby-based holidays attract more affluent demographics
                                                                                                                        • Millennials like to get creative on holiday
                                                                                                                          • Figure 14: Participation in special interest holidays, Millennials versus all adults, February 2019
                                                                                                                        • History/culture and wildlife have biggest appeal to over-55s
                                                                                                                          • Walking, watersports and cycling are most popular physical activity breaks
                                                                                                                              • Figure 15: Participation in physical/sporting activity holidays, February 2019
                                                                                                                              • Figure 16: Participation in special interest holidays, UK versus overseas, February 2019
                                                                                                                            • UK foodie break opportunity
                                                                                                                              • Figure 17: Participation in types of special interest holiday, UK versus overseas, February 2019
                                                                                                                          • Future Interest in Special Interest Holidays

                                                                                                                            • Wildlife-watching holidays have largest growth potential
                                                                                                                              • Figure 18: Future interest in special interest holidays, February 2019
                                                                                                                              • Figure 19: Percentage point differential between previous experience and future interest in special interest holidays, February 2019
                                                                                                                            • Working women would like to get away on hobby breaks
                                                                                                                              • Figure 20: Future interest in selected special interest holidays, by gender, February 2019
                                                                                                                            • Boating, climbing and snowsports have biggest growth potential for activity breaks
                                                                                                                              • Figure 21: Future interest in physical/sporting activity holidays, February 2019
                                                                                                                            • ‘Neighcations’ are popular but golf is on the wane
                                                                                                                              • Figure 22: Percentage point differential between previous experience and future interest in physical/sporting activity holidays, February 2019
                                                                                                                          • Booking Special Interest Holidays

                                                                                                                            • Specialist operators have just 11% slice of hobby holidays
                                                                                                                              • Figure 23: Method of booking last special interest holiday, UK versus overseas, February 2019
                                                                                                                          • Special Interest Holiday Companions

                                                                                                                            • One in four solo travellers take hobby breaks
                                                                                                                              • Figure 24: Preferred companions on a special interest holiday, February 2019
                                                                                                                          • Special Interest Holidays Attitudes and Preferences

                                                                                                                            • Short breaks appeal to female and older hobbyists
                                                                                                                              • 36% interested in finding a new interest and 34% interested in deepening an existing interest
                                                                                                                                • Goal-oriented Millennials
                                                                                                                                  • Social singles
                                                                                                                                    • Specialist brand share could increase from 11% to 19%
                                                                                                                                      • Hobby combinations
                                                                                                                                        • Expertise is a key calling card for specialist brands
                                                                                                                                          • Figure 25: Special interest holidays, interests and opportunities, February 2019
                                                                                                                                        • Work/life balance is a key driver for hobby-based holidays
                                                                                                                                          • A change can be better than a rest
                                                                                                                                            • Hobby/chill-out combinations
                                                                                                                                              • Authenticity seekers
                                                                                                                                                • Figure 26: Special interest holidays, drivers and motivations, February 2019
                                                                                                                                            • Special Interest Holidays Target Groups

                                                                                                                                                • Me-time Reclaimers
                                                                                                                                                  • Holiday Hyperactives
                                                                                                                                                    • Hobbyhorses
                                                                                                                                                      • New Horizon Seekers
                                                                                                                                                        • Social Connectors
                                                                                                                                                          • Third Age Explorers
                                                                                                                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                              • Definitions
                                                                                                                                                                • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                  • Consumer research methodology

                                                                                                                                                                  Special Interest Holidays - UK - April 2019

                                                                                                                                                                  US $2,552.20 (Excl.Tax)