Figures released today by VisitEngland from the United Kingdom Tourism Survey show that holiday trips taken by UK residents in England in the first four months of 2009 are up by 13%. That amounts to 1.2 million more holiday trips and over 5 million extra nights’ holiday taken than in the same period of 2008.
Whilst overall trips, including business and visiting friends and family, from the January to April period have remained at a stable 27 million, the holiday sector has benefited from Brits choosing to take their breaks close to home this year. Figures from the Office of National Statistics confirming that outbound travel from Britain is down 18 % in the same four months ads further to the evidence of 2009 being the year to holiday at home.
James Berresford, Chief Executive of VisitEngland said that after much speculation and expectation about 2009 being the year to holiday at home, the results are encouraging.
‘Time will tell if the trend for holidaying at home continues throughout the summer, but these early indications that people are rediscovering holidays in England is welcome news to the leisure tourism sector.
‘England is well-deserved of its time in the spotlight and we are confident that once people have experienced the beauty and uniqueness of the English country, landscapes, coastal regions, cultural urban centres and world-class attractions - not to mention the delicious range of local food and produce - they’ll be hooked for good’.
The report, released on a monthly basis by VisitEngland, shows that overall trips taken throughout England in the month of April have increased by 34%, though the Easter break falling in April rather than March in 2009 undoubtedly a significant factor in this impressive rise.
Business travel however over the four month period is down by 11%, as companies continue to look for ways to save money in a difficult economic climate.
The total amount spent on overnight travel since January is down by 5% overall across types of trips, but the holiday sector in England has again bucked the trend, with an increase of 4% over the same period.
‘We know that businesses are still having a tough time and business travel is still a big concern which we will continue to monitor – however it seems for now that leisure travel is helping to keep the numbers at the same level as last year, which is a certainly encouraging given the differences in the economic climate in the two comparative years,’ finished James