10 May

ABTA reveals Brits spend as much before they travel as they do abroad

  • UK retail boosted by foreign holiday spending
  • £1.8bn spent on the “holiday wardrobe”
  • A further £1.8bn spent in UK duty free shops
  • “Over £30bn spent at home”
  • ABTA unveiled new research today at its annual Travel Matters event revealing the major contribution made to the UK economy by outbound travel. The report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), highlights that UK holidaymakers spend an average of £532 per person on holiday products and services before they have even left the country.  In total £31.2bn is spent in the UK each year on foreign holiday planning and preparation, about the same that is spent whilst away (£31.6bn).

    The overall figure includes the cost of getting to and from the airport and flights leaving the UK and the report further reveals the massive boost that UK retailers get each year from holidaymakers preparing for their overseas break.

    Getting together your holiday wardrobe represents one of the largest overall spends at £1.83bn closely followed by splashing out on duty free goods at £1.77bn. We spend £759m each year on cameras and other electrical goods, and a further £543m on magazines and books to keep us entertained on the beach. Lastly, our love of looking and feeling good on holiday sees us spend £529m on essential suntan lotions and other toiletries as well as over £300m on sunglasses and other accessories.

    Retail spend breakdown

  1. Clothes and Shoes – £1,832m
  2. Duty-free spending -£1,766m
  3. Cameras And Accessories - £759m
  4. Magazines, books and entertainment -£543m
  5. Sun-tan lotion, toiletries and pharmaceuticals -£529m
  6. Sunglasses and accessories - £301m

Victoria Bacon, ABTA Head of Communications said: “Part of the excitement of going away on holiday is about the preparation.  For many holidaymakers, splashing out some of their budget on a new summer wardrobe, buying a few new books and magazines and getting their duty free at the airport are all part of the experience. Add to this all of the jobs that are supported in travel agents, at airports and in shops and it is clear that the outbound travel sector makes a very important contribution to the UK economy.  This demonstrates conclusively that going abroad on holiday is good for British business.”

The outbound sector also makes a significant contribution to employment in the UK with 624,920 directly employed in the sector and supporting a further 1.26 million jobs in the wider economy.

This study, carried out by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) for ABTA – The Travel Association, investigates for the first time the full extent of the size and importance of the UK outbound travel sector. This study was carried out in spring 2012.

The Cebr provides independent economic forecasts and analysis to private, public and third sector organisations. Founded in 1993, Cebr has helped hundreds of clients plan for the future, and better understand their markets. Cebr specialises in making business sense of economic data and using economics as a tool for improving organisational performance and informing policy debates.

For this study, the Cebr has isolated those parts of the relevant broad sectors of the economy that are either: (i) geared to the provision of the goods and services that form part of the outbound travel offering; or (ii) exist as a direct result of outbound travel or, rather, that might not exist if it were not for UK outbound travel.

The starting point for this was to establish a ‘definition’ of outbound travel to form the basis of this analysis. In formulating such a definition, Cebr used as a guide the structure of the economy that provides the basis for the UK Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) system of national accounts.

A full overview of the methodology used in the preparation of this study, as well as full tables and data, is available on the ABTA website at www.abta.com/DrivingGrowth.