Where do Brits go on holiday?

We look at how many people are jetting off each year to enjoy sun, sea and relaxation.

We analysed the most recent outbound tourism statistics to get some insight into the travel industry as it stands today. Read on to see how many trips abroad people in the UK take and where Brits go on holiday. With a number of credit cards that don’t charge for overseas transactions, you can also see how much Brits are spending abroad!

Outbound tourism statistics: Highlights

  • Spain is the most popular travel destination for Brits, with 17.8 million trips made in 2023.
  • France, Italy, Greece and Portugal make up the rest of the top 5 travel destinations for Brits – all of the top 5 are in Europe.
  • The USA is the top travel destination for Brits outside of Europe, with 3.9 million visits in 2023.
  • UK residents made a total of 86.2 million trips abroad in 2023, up from 71.8 million in 2022.
  • Holidays were the top reason for Brits travelling abroad, with 55.5 million holidays taken in 2023.
  • In 2023, UK residents spent an estimated £72.4 billion overseas.

How many Brits travel abroad each year?

In 2023, Brits made 86.2 million trips overseas, up 21% from the 71.8 million visits made by Brits in 2022. This is still slightly less than the peak number of visits made before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2019, which was 93.1 million.

Year Number of visits abroad by UK residents
2019 93,086,000
2020 23,827,000
2021 19,142,000
2022 70,950,000
2023 86,205,000

Spain is the most popular travel destination for Brits, with an estimated 17.8 million residents taking a trip here in 2023. It is followed by France, which had 9.2 million visitors from the UK in 2023, and Italy, which had 4.9 million visitors from the UK in 2023. Italy has overtaken Greece in popularity since 2022.

The top ten destinations for Brits are:

    1. Spain: 17.8 million visitors
    2. France: 9.2 million visitors
    3. Italy: 4.9 million visitors
    4. Greece: 4.1 million visitors
    5. Portugal: 4 million visitors
    6. USA: 3.9 million visitors
    7. Rep. of Ireland: 3.4 million visitors
    8. Turkey: 3.2 million visitors
    9. Poland: 2.8 million visitors
    10. Netherlands: 2.7 million visitors

More than 3 in 4 visits abroad (77%) from the UK in 2023 were to Europe, making up 66.7 million trips. 4.5 million trips abroad were to North America, which made up 5% of trips.

What are the top reasons for travelling abroad?

Holidays were the most popular reason for travelling abroad in 2023, with 55.5 million holidays making up 64% of all trips abroad. 22.5 million visits were also made to friends and family overseas, while there were 6.3 million international business trips.

Purpose of visit Number of visits
Holiday 55,529,000
Visit friends or relatives 22,484,000
Business 6,265,000
Miscellaneous 1,928,000
All visits 86,205,000

Overseas spending by Brits

In 2023, UK residents spent an estimated £72.4 billion overseas compared to only £58.4 billion in 2022. Most spending was done on holidays (70%), followed by visits to friends and family (20%) and business trips (8%). Around 2% of total spending abroad came from trips with miscellaneous purposes.

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806

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