For richer, for poorer: Britons keep on holidaying

By Jon Young

The post-Brexit world is looking hostile for British holidaymakers, with a weakened pound, an increasingly expensive Eurozone, and the recent news that Britons may soon have to apply for travel authorisation and pay a €7 fee to travel to EU countries. Though we don’t know how this will affect holiday habits going forward, we do know that British holidaymakers are proving resilient in spite of the financial constraints they’ve faced so far.

Following the 2007 recession, the proportion of Britons considering a holiday overseas dropped significantly. Unsurprisingly, the tourism industry expected to see a similar drop following Brexit – but the British are not so easily deterred. In fact, our research suggests that Britons are actually marginally more likely to take a holiday abroad in 2018 than 2017.

That doesn’t mean that the current economic climate isn’t taking its toll on the tourism industry. Whilst Britons are more likely to holiday abroad this year, they’re planning shorter trips (the average planned stay has declined from 9.5 to 8.5 nights) and opting for cheaper deals (the number of package holidays is set to rise from 37% to 41%). Although they’re cutting back, it seems Britons would rather go on a shorter, cheaper holiday abroad than cancel it altogether. Indeed, when asked how their holiday plans were impacted by a major life event or financial commitment, 90% said they would rather adapt their holiday plans than have no holiday at all.

The news is less positive for the domestic holiday scene. It was expected that the weakened pound would herald a return of the post-recession staycation, but the proportion of Britons considering a holiday within the UK this year is actually set to decline. Fewer than seven in ten intend to take a UK break – a fall from the three quarters that have intended to do so in each of the last three years. The drop is driven by a fall in planned UK short-breaks, with numbers dropping from 73% to just 67%.

It’s not all doom and gloom for domestic tourism though.  Despite an overall drop in planned holidays in the UK, domestic holidays of 4+ nights are set to increase; the overall drop driven by fewer short-breaks.  This may mean that total domestic nights stayed remains consistent.  It’s also worth remembering that the survey was taken in dark, cold and wet January, when the appeal of a holiday in the UK is at an all-time low.  It may be that the recent spate of warm weather means Britons will reconsider, and choose Cornwall over Corfu after all.

Want more of the latest holiday habits? Download our full 2018 Holiday Trends report, or view our interactive Holiday Trends data dashboard.

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