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 2019, the average UK resident was abroad for a total of 9.8 nights, and spent £661 while there. In total, 72.6 million trips were taken, amounting to £48 billion spent abroad by tourists from the UK.
spent abroad by the average UK resident in 2019
spent in total by tourists from the UK in 2019, 6% more than in 2018.
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.
Travelling trends during the coronavirus
The UK government has advised Brits to avoid all but essential travel, which is naturally resulting in less tourism and fewer jobs within this sector. Consequently, airlines, hotels, restaurants, and many other tourism-dependent companies have closed temporarily or even gone into administration. 75.2 million positions within the tourism industry are predicted to be made redundant globally, with 1 million of those being located in the UK. In Europe, Germany is set to be the most affected country with 1.6 million jobs being made redundant, while the worst affected continent is Asia, where 49 million jobs are at stake.
The lack of tourism during the corona pandemic could potentially hit the world economy hard, as the sector brings in 10.4% of the global GDP. This could make a loss of $1.6 trillion in total. The most devastating economic impact is predicted in the Asia Pacific, as tourism was estimated to bring in a huge £650 billion, and £440 billion to Europe.
The yearly number of trips abroad rose slightly in 2019
In 2019, UK residents took 72.6 million trips overseas in total. That was an 1% increase from 2018, or 1 million more 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. While the length of trips decreasing, the number of trips is increasing and as a consequence the total amount spent by Brits has also increased in 2019, by 8%.
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.
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.
Georgia-Rose is a publisher at Finder.com and specialises in all things shopping and travel. She has years of experience working in retail and tourism and as an avid budget traveller, she loves helping people find the best deals on everything from plane tickets to sunglasses.
When she's not jetting off somewhere new you'll find her watching cake videos or befriending stray cats.
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