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 2020, under 19 million Brits (36%) were not planning on travelling, with a further 3 million (6%) planning to never travel again. Of the 52% of Brits that were planning on travelling, 16% said they would wait till 2021 (Finder UK survey).
Before the pandemic hit, 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.
3 million Brits
say they will never travel again after the pandemic
spent abroad by the average UK resident in 2019.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Our survey research shows that over half (58%) of Brits plan their next holiday during work hours. The average employee spends 29 minutes planning getaways every week, which amounts to more than three working days a year of holiday shopping. That’s equivalent to a bonus long weekend you might not have accounted for! On a national scale, this is costing UK businesses £180 million in wages per week or £9.3 billion annually. And the numbers stack up, with 125 million working days lost on holiday planning across the UK.
Interestingly, Londoners spend the most time at work planning holidays, at 39 minutes a week, 34% higher than the national average. People in East Anglia are significantly less guilty of this behaviour, averaging 21 minutes per week.
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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