As we are seeing with more and more countries, the pet travel industry is starting to pave its way as a dominant trend and many are responding to these demands with great incentives for the 4 legged family member!
The United Kingdom domestic travel industry should be gearing up to offer more pet-friendly holiday packages and incentives, according to research issued at the Word Travel Market.
The UK pet population is estimated at 49 million, with spending on pet food and pet care products forecasted to reach 2.7 billion this year based an annual growth rate of 4% a year.
The report forecasts that pet travel is set to grow by an estimated 6% year-on-year for the next five years. Dogs represent almost 80% of all holidaying pets in the UK.
"Demand is growing for pet-friendly holiday packages and facilities, definitely a niche market to watch as pet-power becomes the new pester-power," the WTM Global Trends report says.
"It presents opportunities for additional revenue growth of up to 30% per year for hotel and travel agents which choose to incorporate pet services," the report, prepared by Euromonitor International, says. "Players catering to pets will be best placed for dynamic returns in the next five years."
The report suggests that the trend towards treating animals as family members means that consumers are no longer content in leaving pets behind when on holiday. This trend is driving demand for more pet-friendly facilities and travel products.
The UK trends report predicts that the UK domestic tourism industry will be the "biggest beneficiary" of growth in the pet travel sector as overseas travel continues to present much more hassle to owners due to strict quarantine policies, vaccinations and other tests.
"The emergence of pet travel is therefore good news for domestic tourism players. Which have suffered from the industry's underperformance since the onset of foot-and-mouth disease in 2001," the report adds.
But only hotels cater "enthusiastically" to the needs of travelers with pets, while transportation companies tolerate pets at best.
"There remains no transportation or tour operator service specifically targeted towards this consumer group. Pet owners are prepared to pay a premium to guarantee the health and well-being of their four-legged friends, up to over 30% on standard prices," the report discloses.
It quotes online pet service directory PetPlanet as listing 1,427 mainly independent establishments across the UK that welcome pets, with North Yorkshire, Cumbria and Devon being the most pet-friendly.
The next two years will see many more hoteliers coming onto the scene offering pet-friendly services, Euromonitor predicts.
"Considering the success of pet services enjoyed in the US such as PAW (Pets are Welcome) offered at Starwood's W Hotels, it may not be long before other international hotel chains, such as Inter-Continental Hotels and Hilton also introduce similar pet schemes in the UK," according to the report.