Since opening our doors in 1948, there’s no doubt a lot has changed in the travel industry! As we celebrate our 75th birthday this year, we thought it would be fun to take a step back in time and find out what holidays were like in each decade since we began.
How did we holiday in the 40s? When did package holidays become popular? And what travel trends can we expect to see in the near future? It’s time to step aboard the Broadway Travel Time Machine!
After workers in the UK were given the legal right to 1 weeks’ paid holiday in the late 1930’s, demand for leisure soared, and holiday camps such as Butlin’s and Pontins became wildly popular. At the first Butlin’s camp in Skegness, holidaymakers got three meals a day, with ballroom dancing, golf, tennis and bowls all part of the fun. After the war effort, entrepreneurs took notice of the new holiday boom and a number of tour operators began to spring up across the UK – including Broadway Travel in 1948.
Travel abroad remained rare for Brits in the 50s – only 7% of summer holidays were taken overseas. Most of us preferred a good old-fashioned staycation, and with the motorcar becoming more affordable, beach holidays were all the rage. Brits flocked to popular seaside resorts such as Blackpool and Margate to ride the dodgems, munch on sticks of rocks and build sandcastles. Most swimwear was modest, but by the end of the decade a daring new fashion item was starting to turn heads…
Although invented in 1946, it wasn’t until the 60s that the bikini began to gain traction – this daring two-piece swimsuit was starting to be seen in all the top holiday spots across Europe. And where better to flaunt it than on the beaches of Benidorm? This up-and-coming resort town became popular in the mid-60s with vacationing Brits seeking low prices and hot weather – much like today. Further down the coast, tourists and hippies gathered at the beach bars of Torremolinos to take in the liberal atmosphere and bake in the Spanish sun.
The now-defunct Club 18-30 began life at the start of the decade, with organised package holidays for singles. The first holiday was to Lloret de Mar on the Costa Brava, while later destinations included Magaluf, Majorca and Ibiza. The Club closed its doors in 2018, after nearly 50 years in the business. For families, package holidays began to offer more choice in the 70’s, with tour operators offering up exciting new destinations in Greece and the Algarve.
The 80’s were the heyday for package holidays, with skyscrapers dotting the skies of Benidorm and travel agencies in fierce competition on the high street. This meant lower prices, and companies began to entice holiday makers with far-flung destinations including the Caribbean and Thailand. In Europe, Madeira and Malta were popular 80’s hotspots for Brits, with both places enjoying a modern-day resurgence.
If you wanted to book a holiday in the early 90s you had two choices: Teletext or the high street. But by the middle of the decade, the internet had come into its own, and it was now possible to book holidays online – Travelweb.com and Expedia were early pioneers. The internet made independent travel much easier, with info on off-the-beaten-track locations just a click away. High street travel agencies began to move online in droves, offering diverse holiday types such as luxury holidays and breaks for the over 50s.
TripAdvisor launched in 2000, giving the public the chance to write no-holds-barred reviews on their latest hotel stays. At the same time, popular movie The Beach put Koh Phi Phi on every young person’s bucket list, while a year later hit fantasy flick Lord of the Rings made New Zealand irresistible to Tolkien fans. In 2004, Facebook gave us the perfect platform to show off our latest holiday snaps to family and friends – the start of the social media revolution.
The start of the decade saw the launch of Instagram, which soon became filled with inspirational travel pics of exotic global hotspots. Cheap flights made global travel more attainable, and an end to the financial crises of 2008 meant we all had a bit more money in our pockets. Iceland’s Blue Lagoon, Croatian capital Dubrovnik and Boracay in the Philippines were just a few global attractions to witness a big jump in visitors in the ‘10s.
Post-pandemic, the close-to-home package holiday has made a comeback, with reputable travel companies such as Broadway Travel offering ABTA and ATOL protection. In terms of destinations, there’s been a big uptick in demand for Madeira, Malta and the Canary Islands – all places with year-round sun. The Greek islands and the Spanish Costas remain firm favourites, while Insta-worthy Croatia and Majorca are a big draw for the social media generation.
The near future…
It is likely all-inclusive package holidays will be around for some time to come. These all-in-one holidays offer instalment options, low deposits, and financial protection – a smart way to budget for family breaks. Meanwhile, you can expect to see a number of emerging travel destinations in the coming months and years including Jordan, Georgia and Cape Verde. Closer to home, Slovenia, Morocco and the Azores all look set to see an increase in visitor numbers in the near future.