A man runs in front of the waves at the beach on the French Riviera city of Nice / Getty

Fears of terrorism in countries such as Egypt and Turkey is believed to be discouraging UK tourists from seaside getaways

The proportion of British travellers taking a beach holiday fell by 24 per cent in the past year, according to research by Abta, the travel association. Yet the number of people going on holiday increased by 12 per cent.

The research, carried out in August, was revealed at Abta’s Travel Convention in Abu Dhabi. The relative decline of the beach holiday is believed to be partly because of the shift away from Turkey and Egypt, due to fears about terrorism and the UK’s ban on flights to the main Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh.

In addition, there has been an 11 per cent increase in the numbers taking a UK holiday, where the beach holiday is not so prevalent. British breaks are now back to the same levels as in the Olympic year of 2012.

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The Holiday Habits Report 2016 shows that the average number of trips taken in the past year rose from 3.2 to 3.4 per cent.

Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of Abta, said: “It is heartening to see that holidays are still a priority for most people, despite the high-profile events both overseas and here in the UK over the past 12 months.” 

He said the research suggested “a continued positive outlook towards holiday-taking” in 2017. But with the pound sinking by around 15 per cent since the EU referendum, price increases will feed through next year.

A quarter of people said they plan to spend more on holidays in the coming year, with one in six saying they would spend less.

Mr Tanzer said: “I would add a note of caution given the uncertainties that still lie ahead for the UK economy around the Government’s Brexit negotiations.”

The trend away from the high street and towards mobile bookings seems to have abated. The number of people booking through a high street travel agent increased slightly, while the proportion of sales through mobiles fell.

The research is likely to cause some alarm among cruise firms keen to attract a younger demographic.

Among people aged 18 to 44 who have been on a cruise, almost two in five said they would not want to repeat the experience. Older travellers are much more likely to take another cruise holiday, with three-quarters keen to return to sea.