A less than surprising finding of the ABTA 2011 Consumer Trends Survey was the agreement among British respondents that cheap holidays in Spain are the most family-friendly. Of the consumers interviewed for the survey, nearly one in five voted for Spain.
After the results were announced this week at the ABTA Travel Convention held in Palma de Mallorca, Spanish Tourist Office director Ignacio Vasallo declared: “We continue to support the travel trade to update them on all our new developments in culture, sport and gastronomy. It truly is a pleasure to see so much loyalty from the travel trade and British public.”
As frequent visitors can tell you, Spanish society positively welcomes families with children, with less of those frosty looks upon entering a restaurant with kids, and certainly no chance of being informed that children are not allowed. In most parts of Spain, the veneration of the family dovetails seamlessly with the national pastime of socialising out of doors – it is entirely normal to see a couple of respectable middle-class Andalucian families enjoying a few plates of tapas and a few beers together, while their young children play around their feet and the babies slumber in their prams and pushchairs, for instance.
Perhaps more surprising was the inclusion of cheap holidays in the UK as the second-best place for families. The over-55s were especially enamoured of family holidays in Britain, in spite of a home-grown reputation for excluding children. Respondents did cite, however, the large number of activities aimed at families from theme parks to adventure weekends.
A similar degree of provision won USA holidays the third place spot – hardly unexpected, since great hospitality and a dizzying choice of theme parks and camps is a byword for family breaks in hotspots such as Florida. This was followed by France, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Cyprus and Australia to complete the top ten.