More British people enjoying foreign holidays: statistics

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The number of British people enjoying foreign holidays is the highest since the financial crash, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has said.

But in the last 20 years British tourists have turned their backs on traditional two-week holidays in favor of short breaks and week-long trips, said ONS.

British residents went on more than 45 million foreign holidays in 2016, up from 27 million in 1996, a 68 percent rise.

Another big change seen by ONS is the drop in the number of so-called “booze cruises” across the English Channel.

Thousands of people used to make the day-trips to France to stock up on cheaper alcohol.

The numbers started to fall after 1999 when duty-free sales within the European Union ended, coupled with prices for cigarettes in France also rising.

The arrival of budget airlines has also led to sky-high numbers of British tourists heading to  hotspots across Europe, said ONS.

In the two decades since 1996 the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said passenger numbers at British airports increased by 85 percent, from 135 million to 251 million, with half using the budget carriers.

“Around 50 percent of the traffic on low-cost carriers is newly generated, which means half of the people flying on budget airlines in Europe weren’t making those journeys before,” said ONS.

At the same time, the number of people making sea crossings to Europe has fallen by 33 percent, with more opting to fly instead,

ONS said not a lot has changed at the top of the destination chart over the past 20 years, with Spain and France staying in the two top spots.

“While the number of holidays to Spain has rocketed by 87 percent in 20 years, France is one of the few countries we’re visiting less than we were in 1996 with the number falling by 9 percent,” said ONS.

Germany has now joined the top 10 destinations for British holidaymakers, and another new entry is cruising¬† along Europe’s famous rivers, now four times as popular as it was 20 years ago.

Two destinations that have dropped out of the top 10 since 1996 are Belgium and Turkey.

Holidays to third placed Italy and fourth place Portugal have both more than doubled since 1996, with the only non-European destination in the top 10, the United States, in fifth place.


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