Outbound Tourism Statistics

A summary of the travelling habits of the UK

29 Aug 2018

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 2017, the average UK resident was abroad for a total of 10.2 nights, and spent £616 while there. In total, 72.8 million trips were taken, amounting to £44.8 billion spent abroad by tourists from the UK.

10.2 nights

spent abroad by the average UK resident in 2017

£44.8 billion

spent in total by tourists from the UK.

What are the UK’s top travel destinations?

Spain tops the list, with 15.87 million visitors from the UK in 2017. France is second, with 8.86 million. Italy is next with less than half that number, at 4.16 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 is increasing

In 2017, UK residents took 72.8 million trips overseas in total. That was an 3% increase from 2016, or 2 million more visits. The number of trips has been steadily increasing for years, having gone up by 29% (or 16.2 million trips) since 2012, as can be seen in our chart below. The average number of nights spent abroad, on the other hand, has remained relatively unchanged, with the average hovering just above ten nights.

Number of trips abroad from the UK 2012-2017
Total visits abroad

29% increase

in the number of trips abroad since 2012.

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

In 2017, while total yearly spending abroad continues to increase, UK residents average spending per trip was £616 – a slight decrease from £618 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, with the biggest difference coming from Poland joining the ranks, knocking Belgium off the list. Spain’s number 1 spot has become even safer, as the yearly number of visitors has increased by over 4 million, a larger increase than that of any other country on the list.

Number 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
Number of visits
Spain11.11 million
France8.78 million
USA3.01 million
Republic of Ireland2.83 million
Italy2.63 million
Germany2.31 million
Portugal1.90 million
Netherlands1.90 million
Greece1.82 million
Belgium1.66 million

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