Outbound Tourism Statistics

A summary of the travelling habits of the UK

30 Jul 2019

We analysed the most recent available data from the ONS to get some insight into the travel industry, as it stands today. Read on to see how many holidays people in the UK take, where they’re going, and how much they spend while they’re there. Don’t miss our handy travel guide to find the best holiday deals for you and your family along the way.

The latest facts and figures

In 2018, the average UK resident was abroad for a total of 9.8 nights, and spent £616 while there. In total, 71.7 million trips were taken, amounting to £45.4 billion spent abroad by tourists from the UK.

9.8 nights

spent abroad by the average UK resident in 2018

£45.4 billion

spent in total by tourists from the UK in 2018, 1% more than in 2017.

What are the UK’s top travel destinations?

Spain tops the list, with 15.62 million visitors from the UK in 2018. France is second, with 8.56 million. Italy is next with almost half that number, at 4.33 million visitors. The full top ten list can be seen below.

Travel trends of the UK

Generally speaking, this country’s residents are taking more holidays, and spending more of their hard-earned pounds while away.

The yearly number of trips abroad fell slightly in 2018

In 2018, UK residents took 71.7 million trips overseas in total. That was an 1% increase from 2017, or 1.1 million less visits. The number of trips had been steadily increasing for years, having gone up by 29% (or 16.2 million trips) from 2012 to 2017, as can be seen in our chart below. The average length of trips has also decreased to 9.8 nights, from 10.4 in 2018. Despite both the number of trips falling and the length of trips decreasing, the total amount spent by Brits has increased in 2018, by 1%.

Number of trips abroad from the UK 2012-2018
Total visits abroad

1.4% fewer

trips were taken abroad in 2018 compared to 2017.

The average spending per trip abroad (in pounds) is increasing

Despite Brits taking less trips abroad in 2018 than in 2017, the total amount spend increased by 1%, to £45.4 billion. This means the average spend per trip was £633, £17 more than in 2017 and £15 more than in 2016.

Total amount spent each year by UK tourists
Average spend per visitAverage amount spent abroad per dayTotal amount spent abroad by British tourists
2012£573£55£32.4 billion
2013£597£57£34.5 billion
2014£591£58£35.5 billion
2015£594£57£39.0 billion
2016£618£60£43.8 billion
2017£616£60£44.8 billion

Top 10 travel destinations from the UK

The UK’s favourite destinations have remained largely unchanged since 2012, Spain remains the UK’s most popular tourist destination but the number of visits did fall by 2% from 2017, the first time this number has fallen since 2009. Among the top 10 most visited countries Poland experienced the biggest change from 2017 to 2018, with the number of visits falling by 7%. Explore the tables below for more information.

CountryNumber of visits
Spain15.62 million
France8.56 million
Italy4.33 million
USA3.47 million
Irish Republic3.22 million
Portugal2.82 million
Germany2.81 million
Netherlands2.72 million
Poland2.47 million
Greece2.47 million
CountryNumber of visits
Spain15.87 million
France8.86 million
Italy4.16 million
Republic of Ireland3.42 million
USA3.40 million
Germany2.91 million
Portugal2.87 million
Poland2.67 million
Netherlands2.66 million
Greece2.38 million

For all media enquiries, please contact

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
T: +44 20 3828 1338

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