Latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the number of British residents travelling abroad grew for the first time in 2011, following a four year slump.
Previous figures had shown a decline in the number of Brits taking holidays abroad since the onslaught of the 2008/2009 recession, making this increase particularly positive news for industries and individuals alike.
Whilst the growth is only marginal (0.8%), this is still a positive step for travellers. Overall, 3.3 million individuals journeyed abroad in February 2011 – a distinct increase from the 3.2 million who undertook this type of travel in 2010. The number of people visiting the UK also increased, with inbound visits up by 2.9%.
Of the holidays taken, a large number were in more localised regions and the ONS Overseas Travel and Tourism Report stated there was a distinct “short-haul focus” within these figures.
Considering the current economic state of the UK, this news concerning holidays may come as a surprise to some consumers.
However, the ONS figures revealed that last-minute bookings and package holidays were the prime form of holiday taken by individuals of late – with Brits desperately searching for the best deals before booking their holidays.
Senior Research and Public Affairs Manager for ABTA, Stephen D’Alfonso, explained that the “exorbitant level of air tax, which is higher for longer-haul destinations, may be impacting Britons’ choice of holiday destinations.”
Despite this, the amount UK residents spent on trips abroad rose to £1.86 billion this February. This is a noticeable increase from the £1.81 billion spent in February 2011, but demonstrates how Brits are becoming savvier with their travel money as more people look to spend less.
For those looking to save money whilst holidaying abroad, a prepaid travel card could be a great option. These may be cheaper than traditional credit or debit cards and means you do not waste money continually exchanging foreign currency.