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Cash-Rich, Time-Poor Consumers Opt for All-Inclusive Holidays

The all-inclusive market, one of the success stories of international tourism in recent years, is well-placed to achieve rapid growth, according to a report from industry analysts Travel & Tourism Intelligence…

The all-inclusive market, one of the success stories of international tourism in recent years, is well-placed to achieve rapid growth, according to a report from industry analysts Travel & Tourism Intelligence (TTI<.>). The All-Inclusive Market, which examines the development, current performance and outlook for the sector, bases its optimistic assessment on surveys suggesting over half of US and UK consumers currently taking international holidays are positively disposed towards the all-inclusive concept.



The TTI estimates that the number of people currently opting for all-inclusive holidays each year (extrapolated from a UK figure of just under 5% of all package holidays) is around 5 million world-wide. The market potential, based on attitude surveys and data on current numbers of visitors to the type of destinations that all-inclusive operators are targeting, is estimated at a sizable 50 million travellers.



While the all-inclusive concept can be traced back as far Club Med`s village of army surplus tents on Majorca in the 1950s, it is only relatively recently this type of holiday, in which most or all of the holidaymaker`s expenses at the destination are covered by one pre-paid price, has entered the tourism mainstream. For example, Jamaica, an important all-inclusive destination, saw a more than four-fold expansion in all-inclusive capacity in the 12 years to 1998 while maintaining an average room occupancy of over 73%. In fact, Sandals, an all-inclusive specialist, is the island`s largest private company; and is so substantial that in 1992 it was able to use its currency reserves to prevent the collapse of the Jamaican dollar.



The appeal to the operators is the efficiency; for example, they know exactly how many people will be eating in. The format is also increasingly appealing to today`s cash-rich, time-poor consumer. In the USA, for example, the average length of the working week has been increasing for 25 years and is now over 50 hours. While this culture has brought economic rewards (11% of US households now earn more than US$100,000pa), surveys have shown that 60% of workers feel they do not have enough holiday time. This has created a growing consumer class who, in holiday terms, are for looking maximum experience in minimum time; and it is largely to these leisure travellers that the array of pre-paid activities of the all-inclusive format appeals.



While many all-inclusives are aimed directly at the couples market, they are also increasingly attracting the families, who are showing an ever-greater propensity to travel internationally and often appreciate the certainty in budgeting these type of holidays allow. An additional benefit is the safe haven from crime that the resorts afford.



However, all-inclusives have also attracted some criticism, particularly for the creating an artificial, self-contained environment to the detriment of local traders – they have been the subject of protest calypsos in the Caribbean and were even banned in the Gambia at one time. Operators such as Sandals now run extensive community schemes to counter negative attitudes.



The major competition to all-inclusive holidays will come from cruising

Theodore Koumelis
Co-Founder & Managing Director - Travel Media Applications | Website

Theodore is the Co-Founder and Managing Editor of TravelDailyNews Media Network; his responsibilities include business development and planning for TravelDailyNews long-term opportunities.

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