A survey of delegates at the British Tourism and Travel Show found that more than three quarters (78%) are optimistic about the future of the domestic travel trade.
Just 5% said they were pessimistic, according to the BTTS Domestic Tourism Industry Snapshot Survey, completed before and during the March event by travel and tour operators, tourist boards, visitor attractions, destinations and hotels.
The survey found two thirds (67%) of respondents saw an increase in domestic visitor numbers and bookings in 2016, and 57% think that customer spending habits will improve over the next year.
Opinions were mixed about the impact of the Brexit vote: 39% said last year’s referendum had no discernible impact on their business, while 28% reported a positive impact.
The remaining 33%, many of whom also cater to the outbound tourism market, said it was already having a negative effect.
Value for money, experience and location are the three main factors that customers consider when booking a trip, followed by culture, accessibility catering, and being family-friendly.
Trends tipped by the survey include an increase in staycations; more last-minute bookings; a rise in inbound tourism from China, the US and Canada; a greater focus on experiential holidays and breaks; and exploring lesser known locations beyond London.
About 260 exhibitors attended BTTS in Birmingham, and the show welcomed more than 2,600 attendees.
David Maguire, group event director, said: “This is a really exciting time for British and Irish tourism. Yes, there are challenges ahead but also plenty of potential for growth – reflected both at the show and in our latest survey results.
“Visitor bookings are up and expected to stay up, with more people holidaying closer to home, while inbound tourism is enjoying a record high – with more overseas visitors than ever before.”
BTTS returns to the NEC Birmingham on March 21-22, 2018.