APH has pulled together its UK travel industry predictions for the 2020s.
APH’s key trends, drawn from its observations of the industry and from listening to its many customers who use its services each year, include the importance of combating over-tourism and the uncertainty surrounding airport expansions, as well as suggesting the destinations popular for tourists in 2020s and even where England will rank in the UEFA Euro 2020.
- The Heathrow Hiatus Continues
The Heathrow expansion will remain a political talking point and will continue to be faced with multiple challenges even if it does secure government support.
- Gatwick’s Stealthy Development
While the Heathrow debate will make headlines, Gatwick will stealthily progress the development of its second runway so that its two runways can be used simultaneously, almost certainly beating Heathrow to the race for extra capacity.
- A Game of Terminals – The North / South divide needs to be overcome
A shorter-term problem that Gatwick will have to overcome is the split between flights departing from the North and South Terminal. APH, which has one of its own car park operations just off the M23, has seen an increasing imbalance arise since the demise of Thomas Cook. Instead of flights being split evenly between the two terminals, there is now approximately a 70:30 North:South passenger divide which is causing overcrowding in the North terminal and an under-utilised South terminal.
- Electric Cars Go Mainstream
The 2020s will see more UK households swap at least one of their carbon-fuelled vehicles for electric ones in a bid to be more environmentally friendly. 2020 will see the launch of mainstream electric models such as the Mini, the Vauxhall Corsa and the Fiat 500.
- Wave Goodbye to Kiss and Fly
Despite Generation Z being the most ecological and environmentally aware, they are one of the main culprits of Kiss & Fly, often asking Mum and Dad to drop them and pick them up from the airport. This is one of the most environmentally damaging ground transportation options as vehicle journeys are doubled. During this period, there will be a shift towards the more eco-conscious younger generation making their own way to the airport as awareness grows of the benefits of driving and parking their own car.
- STAN the Gatwick Parking Robot
In 2020, travellers will begin to see a change at on-airport car parks with the introduction of self-parking robots! In 2020 Gatwick airport will be trialling STAN – the Gatwick Parking Robot which will move cars from a valet drop-off point to another part of the South terminal long-stay car park in order to reduce bus transfers.
- The Wandering of the Weather Weary
The Met Office say UK winters are set to get wetter as a result of climate change* which APH predict will drive even more tourists to sunnier destinations abroad such as Turkey and North Africa, as well as the ever-popular Caribbean.
- Touring Away from Trophy Destinations
The savviest travellers, who no longer want to compete with the crowds and queues at bucket list sites, will explore further away from traditional tourist hotspots and find the next set of popular destinations, removing the pressures some of over-tourism on the way.
- BIY – Book It Yourself
Following last year’s experiences after the Thomas Cook collapse, ever more people will be pushed towards self-packaging breaks in 2020 and beyond. In turn we will see a rise in the ‘Sharing Economy’ of money-saving and community building apps such as Airbnb and HiyaCar, the car sharing platform.
- The Pursuit of Ease
Business travellers will continue to prioritise quality and ease when taking business trips abroad which will drive more business travellers towards the most reliable and secure Meet & Greet parking options which provide EV charging for their Teslas, carefully avoiding rogue operators.
- Luxury Travel Agents
Whilst mainstream travel will continue to go online, there will still be a place for travel agents in the travel industry but with a stronger focus on adding the most value and finding luxurious and alternative destinations, creating bespoke holiday itineraries and offering only the very best travel ancillaries.
- A Sterling Recovery
In this decade, sterling will recover to $1.40 / €1.30 and beyond which will increase the affordability of travel from the UK and help reverse the inbound / outbound trend of the last three and a half years. However, this will remain volatile throughout 2020 as the EU and Boris continue to clash in a war of words in the news headlines.
- The Northern Transformation
The North will develop further as a hub for business and travel in 2020. Already Manchester airport’s super terminal is underway and its expansion, which will increase the size of Terminal 2 by 150%, is set to be finished later this year. These transformations are coming at a time when the government is starting to shift its focus to maintaining the support of voters in the North of the UK that saw Boris elected.
- Destinations to Watch
APH believes that countries outside of the Euro zone, such as Turkey, are continuing to show strong growth, as is North Africa following Sharm el Sheikh’s return to flight agendas. Similarly, South Eastern European destinations such as Albania and Croatia are set to be destinations to watch this year.
- APD Rates Are Set to Decrease
APD rates for both short-haul and long-haul travel will be re-considered in 2020 and will hopefully be reduced, but not abolished, to make travelling abroad more affordable.
- Smart Motorways Should Improve Driving Experiences
The introduction of ‘Smart Motorways’ across the UK should help motorists enjoy a less congested driving experience. However, rapidly declining lane discipline and poor driving on motorways will see congestion worsen despite their introduction. APH believes a government information campaign and stricter traffic enforcement will be beneficial for helping Smart Motorways work effectively.
- Self-Drive is on the Rise
Despite issues with roads, the proportion of passengers using a private car to get to the airport for their travels will increase in 2020 to above 60%, which it has stagnated at in recent years. The main causes of this will be the switch back to outbound travel, increasing train costs and convenience.
- Travel Podcasts will Start Trending
People are already catching on to the joys of listening to travel podcasts that evoke feelings of wanderlust and APH expect their popularity to increase throughout the 2020s.
- APH Beseech a Botherless Brexit
From 2021, the outline of a sensible trade deal will be developed and Brexit Britons will see a gradual restoration of business as usual.
- Let’s put this out there: July 2020 England’s footballers will reach the final of the Euros at Wembley!
*The Met Office’s UK Climate Projections: Headline Findings report can be found here