Brits continuing to holiday at home

by Ella FAIRCHILD on July 29, 2011

Cash-strapped British holidaymakers are staying at home this summer, and steering clear of foreign breaks.
The credit crunch and plummeting exchange rates continue to contribute to the decline in the amount of people travelling overseas, although UK tourism remains buoyant.

The strong pound and lingering effects of Britain’s deepest postwar recession resulted in a drop in overseas holidays for the fourth year on the trot in 2010.

Official figures that were released yesterday showed that there was a drop of more than five per cent in visits abroad by British residents last year, which comes after an even bigger 15 per cent decline during 2009 - the year economic activity in the country contracted by five per cent.

Holidays to the UK have hit record levels according to the Office for National Statistics, with visits increased by an overall 25% loss of the value of Pounds Sterling since the beginning of the financial crisis back in 2007.

While holiday visits to Britain have seen continued growth over the past couple of years, a substantial decline in the amount of holidays being taken abroad has emerged with factors like the global recession and poor exchange rates dampening traveller demand, said the ONS.

Visits overseas by UK residents tripled from the mid-80s to the mid-00s, peaking at under 69.5m five years ago. The ONS said that at the start of 2010, the number of visits dropped by 20% to around 55.6m. Spending abroad over the same period, after being adjusted for inflation, dropped from £31bn down to £22bn. Spain and France remain comfortable as the top two destinations for UK travellers, with French, German, and American tourists visiting Britain the most.

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