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How does the UK economy affect where the British go on holiday?

Changes to holiday destinations 2007 – 2013

There is some evidence to suggest that UK residents changed their travel behaviour during the years of the economic downturn in 2008-09, by choosing to take holidays within Great Britain rather than abroad. This has been referred to as the “Rise of the ‘Staycation’”, but are we now seeing the fall? This analysis looks at data on holiday visits from 2007 to 2013. A holiday visit is defined as a visit to a destination for holiday purposes that includes at least one overnight stay.

Increase in number of UK residents going on holiday abroad between 2012 and 2013

Between 2008 and 2009 there was a major change in the holiday visits of UK residents, with a 16% fall in visits abroad according to the International Passenger Survey. At the same time the Great Britain Tourism Survey which looks at GB residents only, found a 17% increase in holiday visits to destinations in Great Britain.  These figures widened the gap between visits to GB and non-GB destinations.

The most recent figures show that this gap may be starting to narrow, there was a 4% increase in the number of UK residents holidaying abroad between 2012 and 2013, alongside a 1.3% decrease in visits to GB destinations. When more data becomes available for 2014 it may become clearer if tourists are once again travelling abroad or if the staycation is here to stay.

Number of holidays visits to GB and non-GB destinations, 2007-2013

Number of holidays visits to GB and non-GB destinations, 2007-2013

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Where can I find out more about tourism statistics?

These statistics were analysed by the Tourism Intelligence Unit at ONS using data from the International Passenger Survey and Great Britain Tourism Survey. If you would like to find out more about the latest tourism statistics, you can read the release, visit VisitEngland or visit the Travel page. To find out about the economic value of tourism read our story. If you have any comments or suggestions, we would like to hear them, please email us at:


  1. Great Britain includes England, Scotland and Wales. The United Kingdom includes England Scotland Wales and Northern Ireland.

Categories: People and Places, People, Tourism, Economic Value of Tourism, Economy, National Accounts, Satellite Accounts
Content from the Office for National Statistics.
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