Despite the slowdown in economic growth, European outbound travel has grown by 3%. Globally, United Kingdom is one of the top five spenders on outbound tourism. Outbound travel is increasing steadily in the United Kingdom along with domestic and inbound tourism. According to the Office for National Statistics of UK, residents of the United Kingdom made 70.4 million outbound trips in 2016, which is a 7% increase compared to 2015. Trips taken as holiday remained the main purpose of the trip for UK outbound tourists in 2016 followed by visiting friends and relatives and business trips. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, the outbound tourism expenditure of UK travellers crossed US$ 70 billion and is projected to reach US$ 102 billion by the end of 2024. The outbound travel sector in the United Kingdom provides employment on par with other well-known and recognised industries, such as food and electrical equipment manufacturing and machinery and equipment industries.
UK Outbound Travel: Market Dynamics and Restraints
Relatively high disposable income per capita is expected to drive the United Kingdom’s outbound tourism sector. Baby Boomers, with more free time and money for travel, are the most important segment of the UK outbound travel sector. The baby boomer generation has topped the market share of the UK outbound travel sector mainly attributed to the recent changes in pension annuities. According to the International Passenger Survey, the residents of UK prefer July and August for travel abroad mainly due to the long school holidays. Other popular months are April, May, June, October and November. January to March is a popular time for single-week ski trips and winter sun breaks to cheap destinations, usually as an extra holiday. Along with the international airports, the United Kingdom has a large number of regional airports offering international services to important destinations which include Manchester, Nottingham, East Midlands, Liverpool and Leeds.
Medical tourism across the globe also faced difficulties in the last couple of years. Outbound medical tourism from Britain has recovered slowly after the recession. Factors include poor National Health Service delivery, problems with National Health Service dentistry, and objections and delays relating to National Health Service. Reforms have helped boost the outbound tourism sector in the UK. The residents of the UK seek cheap medical treatment abroad and look for countries such as Poland and Bulgaria for medical help.
However, factors such as the increase in the price of travelling from the UK due to higher fuel costs and slowness of the economic climate can adversely impact the UK outbound tourism sector. In addition, the threat of terrorism is another factor which is impacting the UK outbound tourism sector as travellers are more cautious about the safety level of the destination country. Furthermore, a recent depreciation of the Euro against the US Dollar has made it more expensive for UK residents who travel abroad. However, some countries outside the common currency limitations experienced positive performance, especially medium-haul destinations around the Mediterranean coast.
UK Outbound Travel: Regional Analysis
Europe is most popular region for UK tourists with over 75% of total outbound trips. Spain, France, Italy and Germany are the most visited destinations by UK residents and the United States was the most visited non-European destination with around 6% of total visits. China, India, Iceland and Cuba areother popular destinations for UK travellers among other non-European destinations. Factors such as cultural and artistic heritage, high reputation related to the charming culture and lifestyle, great climate, excellent and frequent flight connections have influenced UK tourists to travel to Italy. In addition to the trips within Europe, long haul travel is also increasingly becoming popular among UK travellers. The Middle East was the least visited region for UK holidaymakers and India is one of the top destinations for UK travellers in the Asia Pacific region.
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UK Outbound Travel:Segmentation
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- Changing market dynamics in the industry
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- Historical, current and projected market size in terms of volume and value
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