Outbound tourism statistics

Where do brits go on holiday? We summarise the latest outbound travelling habits of UK residents.

Updated . What changed?

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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, where they’re going and how much they spend while they’re there. And don’t miss our handy travel guide to find the best holiday deals for you and your family.

The latest facts and figures

In 2019, the average UK resident was abroad for a total of 9.7 nights and spent £670 while there. In total, 93.1 million trips were taken, amounting to £62.3 billion spent abroad by tourists from the UK.

9.7 nights

spent abroad by the average UK resident in 2019.

£62 billion

spent in total by tourists from the UK in 2019, 7% more than in 2018.

What are the UK’s top travel destinations?

Spain tops the list, with 18.13 million visitors from the UK in 2019. France is second, with 10.35 million. Italy is next with almost half that number, at 5.11 million visitors. The USA is the most visited country outside of Europe and the fourth most visited overall, with 4.8 million Brits travelling there. The full list of most popular British destinations can be seen below.

Number of visits abroad by Brits per year (2009-2019)

2019 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 2009
Spain 18.13 17.93 17.65 15.94 14.30 13.57 12.84 12.24 11.82 11.35 12.11
France 10.35 10.85 10.64 10.03 10.52 10.65 10.49 10.42 10.62 10.53 10.51
Italy 5.11 5.29 4.90 4.63 4.12 3.51 3.30 3.07 2.77 2.63 2.82
USA 4.81 4.94 4.44 4.38 4.40 4.20 3.83 3.74 4.07 3.92 3.54
Republic of Ireland 4.79 4.70 4.58 4.68 4.51 4.06 3.77 3.72 4.27 3.83 4.05
Netherlands 3.57 3.36 3.12 3.14 2.98 2.54 2.32 2.26 2.24 2.05 2.01
Greece 3.44 2.91 2.71 2.72 2.60 2.22 2.03 2.05 2.19 1.85 1.99
Germany 3.38 3.63 3.58 3.25 3.16 2.91 2.93 2.79 2.73 2.51 2.33
Portugal 3.31 3.32 3.27 3.09 2.90 2.48 2.33 2.13 2.20 2.08 1.91
Poland 3.23 2.94 3.06 2.70 2.32 1.99 1.92 1.82 1.68 1.64 1.66
Turkey 2.29 1.75 1.45 1.21 1.76 1.65 1.56 1.63 1.83 2.01 1.72
Belgium 2.10 2.09 2.06 1.90 2.05 2.19 2.01 2.07 1.80 1.66 1.54
India 1.61 1.47 1.36 1.23 1.19 1.13 1.08 0.98 1.14 1.04 0.96
Switzerland 1.35 1.32 1.19 1.20 1.13 1.06 1.16 1.05 1.03 1.06 0.94
Romania 1.29 1.23 1.16 0.88 0.56 0.41 0.29 0.22 0.22 0.18 0.16
United Arab Emirates 1.29 1.14 1.31 1.09 0.95 0.90 0.77 0.70 0.67 0.59 0.61
Cyprus 1.05 0.88 1.02 0.93 0.74 0.71 0.77 0.94 1.08 1.00 1.06
Hungary 0.92 0.73 0.77 0.72 0.58 0.44 0.39 0.35 0.33 0.31 0.25
Malta 0.84 0.80 0.60 0.72 0.56 0.62 0.59 0.52 0.52 0.49 0.39
Morocco 0.81 0.77 0.68 0.55 0.65 0.55 0.54 0.43 0.37 0.35 0.33
Czech Republic 0.78 0.63 0.69 0.60 0.51 0.38 0.42 0.41 0.45 0.42 0.47
Pakistan 0.77 0.73 0.74 0.63 0.49 0.46 0.47 0.50 0.43 0.50 0.43
Canada 0.76 0.78 0.68 0.66 0.53 0.55 0.46 0.47 0.54 0.50 0.52
Austria 0.73 0.70 0.70 0.91 0.67 0.63 0.71 0.62 0.62 0.70 0.76
Bulgaria 0.72 0.69 0.60 0.48 0.34 0.38 0.33 0.34 0.33 0.25 0.27
Mexico 0.69 0.84 0.63 0.56 0.60 0.50 0.52 0.34 0.34 0.35 0.21
Other Caribbean 0.57 0.74 0.71 0.72 0.59 0.50 0.58 0.57 0.66 0.67 0.65
Australia 0.55 0.48 0.58 0.53 0.55 0.55 0.51 0.47 0.51 0.55 0.49
Norway 0.53 0.45 0.40 0.45 0.43 0.37 0.40 0.35 0.32 0.27 0.28
Thailand 0.52 0.58 0.56 0.59 0.57 0.51 0.50 0.47 0.47 0.42 0.39
Denmark 0.52 0.56 0.57 0.64 0.55 0.46 0.42 0.41 0.39 0.31 0.35
Sweden 0.52 0.53 0.47 0.50 0.47 0.36 0.36 0.42 0.46 0.39 0.39
Lithuania 0.51 0.44 0.44 0.38 0.30 0.27 0.21 0.23 0.22 0.16 0.13
South Africa 0.49 0.48 0.48 0.44 0.44 0.41 0.38 0.45 0.43 0.47 0.40
Fly/cruise (stay onboard) 0.47 0.46 0.55 0.72 0.60 0.62 0.60 0.55 0.63 0.70 0.68
Tunisia 0.38 0.20 0.03 0.05 0.30 0.50 0.50 0.43 0.41 0.46 0.38
Japan 0.36 0.23 0.21 0.18 0.18 0.17 0.13 0.12 0.11 0.13 0.14
Jamaica 0.36 0.32 0.21 0.26 0.25 0.26 0.16 0.22 0.27 0.23 0.21
Hong Kong (China) 0.34 0.36 0.26 0.21 0.20 0.20 0.18 0.24 0.19 0.20 0.16
Nigeria 0.27 0.22 0.25 0.24 0.21 0.19 0.18 0.19 0.16 0.15 0.14
Slovakia 0.23 0.22 0.21 0.24 0.20 0.16 0.13 0.16 0.10 0.13 0.16
Finland 0.22 0.32 0.21 0.23 0.23 0.24 0.21 0.15 0.17 0.13 0.17
Russia 0.21 0.16 0.23 0.15 0.16 0.18 0.18 0.17 0.17 0.12 0.14
Sri Lanka 0.21 0.20 0.20 0.18 0.16 0.14 0.13 0.15 0.14 0.15 0.14
Barbados 0.21 0.12 0.17 0.14 0.14 0.08 0.04 0.12 0.10 0.10 0.09
Rest of the World 0.20 0.21 0.20 0.21 0.21 0.21 0.21 0.21 0.31 0.23 0.04
Israel 0.20 0.13 0.17 0.12 0.13 0.13 0.12 0.12 0.13 0.13 0.14
Egypt 0.17 0.25 0.23 0.14 0.36 0.36 0.48 0.49 0.60 0.77 0.81
Brazil 0.14 0.12 0.14 0.11 0.16 0.15 0.13 0.15 0.12 0.12 0.09
New Zealand 0.13 0.14 0.19 0.14 0.16 0.14 0.13 0.14 0.16 0.17 0.13
Luxembourg 0.09 0.07 0.10 0.09 0.08 0.10 0.12 0.10 0.07 0.12 0.07

The UK government has advised Brits to avoid all but essential travel, which has naturally resulted 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 coronavirus 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.

Region Loss in profits
Asia Pacific £650 billion
Europe £440 billion
US/Canada/Mexico £455 billion
Middle East £52 billion

The yearly number of trips abroad rose slightly in 2019

In 2019, UK residents took 93.1 million trips overseas in total. That’s a 3% increase from 2018, or 2.5 million more visits. The number of trips has been steadily increasing for years, having gone up by 47% (or 29.6 million trips) from 2009 to 2019, as can be seen in the chart below.

Year Number of trips abroad
2019 93.1 million
2018 90.6 million
2017 87.2 million
2016 81.8 million
2015 77.6 million
2014 72.2 million
2013 69 million
2012 66.9 million
2011 67.5 million
2010 64.6 million
2009 63.5 million

3% more

trips were taken abroad in 2019 compared to 2018.

The average length of trips is decreasing

In 2019, we went away for 9.7 nights on average. This is compared to 9.9 nights in 2018. The longest average trip length in the last 10 years was in 2010 when we visited for 11 nights on average. This means that the average length of our stays has decreased by 12% since then.

Every type of trip has decreased in length since 2009, but holidays have been cut short by the most (12%) going from 9.9 days to 8.7 days. Not surprisingly, the shortest trips are still business trips, lasting just 5.3 days on average.

The average spend per trip is increasing

Despite Brits taking fewer trips abroad, the total amount spent overseas has increased by 7% from 2018 to £62.3 billion. Total spending by Brits has risen 81% from 34.5 billion in 2009. The slowest spending growth has been from business travellers, with just a 28% increase over the 10 years, but a 9% decrease from 2018.

Year Holidays Business Visiting friends or relatives Miscellaneous All visits
2019 £43.36 billion £6.26 billion £10.50 billion £2.21 billion £62.33 billion
2018 £39.70 billion £6.86 billion £9.78 billion £1.79 billion £58.13 billion
2017 £36.94 billion £6.48 billion £9.43 billion £1.58 billion £54.43 billion
2016 £34.28 billion £6.63 billion £8.13 billion £1.83 billion £50.86 billion
2015 £30.53 billion £7.39 billion £7.01 billion £1.55 billion £46.48 billion
2014 £28.87 billion £5.83 billion £6.95 billion £1.41 billion £43.07 billion
2013 £27.34 billion £5.94 billion £6.48 billion £1.61 billion £41.37 billion
2012 £25.31 billion £6.04 billion £5.78 billion £1.35 billion £38.48 billion
2011 £25.19 billion £5.74 billion £5.68 billion £1.30 billion £37.92 billion
2010 £25.16 billion £5.48 billion £5.32 billion £1.17 billion £37.13 billion
2009 £23.43 billion £4.91 billion £4.89 billion £1.23 billion £34.46 billion

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

Matt Mckenna
UK Communications Manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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