Domestic tourism on the rise in 2015

Domestic overnight trips in England
Jobs in England supported by tourism
Spent on domestic tourism in England
Domestic overnight visitors in England boosted the visitor economy in 2015 by spending £19.6bn

Record-breaking visitor spend, the highest domestic trip numbers since 2012 and increased job creation in the tourism sector. From consumer confidence to changing travel behaviours, a wide range of factors have driven England’s tourism industry to success this year.

Positive waves from domestic travel growth

Domestic overnight tourism infographicGenerating £85 billion in visitor spend. Employing over 2 million people. Making up over 80% of the UK's total visitor economy. Working hand in hand with a wide range of sectors across England – including farming, transport, retail, sport, museums and the arts – England's tourism sector is both vibrant and valuable. 

Low inflation, real-term wage increases and a more favourable economic environment all played their part in feeding increased consumer confidence and spend. Overnight trips in England reached a four-year high with an increase of 11% to almost 103 million, while visitor spend rose to a record-breaking £19.6 billion, an 8% increase on last year.



Key figures from the Great Britain Tourism Survey (GBTS)
  • 103 million overnight trips recorded in England, an 11% increase compared with 2014
  • Regions seeing the biggest increases in overnight trips include Yorkshire (+20%), the West Midlands (+22%), London (+14%) and the South West (+14%)
  • Plus regions which saw double-digit increase in spend include the West Midlands (+26%), North East (+15%), South West (+13%) and Yorkshire (+11%)
  • 43.7 million holiday trips were taken in England in 2015, up 7% on 2014, with spending of £10.7 billion, also up 7% on 2014
  • 13.9 million overnight business trips were taken in England in 2015, up 2% on 2014 and spending £3.3 billion
  • The number of VFR trips rose by 13% in 2015, to 40.6 million, the highest recorded total since 2006, while spending reached a record level (in nominal terms) of £4.7 billion, representing a 15% increase year on year
  • 124 million trips recorded across Great Britain, a 9% increase on 2014 with spend also up by 9% to £25 billion
GB Tourism Survey - England 2015
GB Day Visits Survey 2015
The value of tourism in England

Consumer confidence cutting through the competition

Chart of all trip purposes in EnglandWhen it comes to choosing a holiday destination, British tourists are still able to find value for money in the Eurozone despite the weakening of the pound. This means that British destinations will continue to face stiff competition.

However, whatever happens in the external environment, recent trends such as short breaks, multi-generational trips, last-minute getaways and interest in destinations of all types (coastal, rural or urban) are providing sustainable opportunities for Britain’s domestic market.

The number of Brits taking short breaks (1- 3 nights) in England was up 10% compared with the previous year. 2015 also saw domestic seaside holiday trips up 7%, city holidays up 6% and countryside holidays up 12%.

While the long-term impact to tourism after the EU Referendum is yet to be measured, in the short term it may have delivered a boost to the domestic market, with 5% of consumers saying they’ve chosen to take a UK trip instead of going abroad as a result of the weaker exchange rate.

Trip volume growth across domestic trip characteristics:
  • Overnight domestic trips up 11%
  • Holiday trips up 7%
  • Short breaks up 10%
  • 4+ nights up 2%
  • Visiting Friends and Relatives (VFR) up 13%
  • Business trips up +2%


Day trip spending on the up

Accounting for just over half of tourism spend in 2015, the domestic day trip market experienced its first uplift in expenditure since 2012. This saw spending reach a figure of £46 billion – a 3% rise on last year. Despite the fact that domestic tourists were willing to spend more on day trips, the overall volume of tourism day trips was actually down by 4% in total.

Overnight trips in England reached a four-year high with an increase of 11% to almost 103 million, while visitor spend rose to a record-breaking £19.6 billion, an 8% increase on last year.