Skift Take

The changing demographics of UK residents (and travelers as a result), mixed with economic downturn in UK and Europe, and of course the changing geopolitical world map has led to these potentially long term changes in travel habits of British. Fascinating data to keep an eye on for the next few years.

The British travelers, long the intrepid explorers all over the globe, are changing their traveling habits amidst fears of Europe falling into a long term economic decline. Once favorite countries have seen rapid declines since the financial downturn began in 2008, while other new favorites are emerging.

Yesterday, we ran a story on Britishers falling out of love with vacationing in France. But that’s not the only country, as the latest 2012 data from Office of National Statistics of British visitors lays it out for a slew of other countries that have fallen out of favor over the recent years. The full chart, below, and some observations:

  • Egypt’s fall is due to the continued uncertainty and unrest following the Arab Spring. Israel is also suffering from general unrest in the region. Morocco, Tunisia and other north African countries benefited from the hunt for alternatives.
  • Jamaica seems like a strange blip from 2011 to 2012, but general crime has ben a concern.
  • Ireland has the most to worry, with precipitous decline in what used to be the easiest tourist catchment area of UK. Canada and USA are in the same bucket. All are relatively expensive, and why spend precious pounds in these countries when Spain and others are so much more cheaper, with better weather too.
  • Brazil, China, and smaller emerging countries like Slovakia and Lithuania are the beneficiaries of this trend, besides Spain and Italy.
  • There was an increase in the number of visits to each of Spain (up 4.3% to 11.1 million), Belgium (up 14.4% to 1.7 million), Italy (up 12.7% to 2.6 million) and Norway (up 11.8% to 0.3 million) for the second consecutive year.
  • Visits to Greece fell by 5.7% to 1.8 million following an increase in 2011.
  • Spain and France account for approximately a third of visits abroad.
  • The number of visits to France has been in decline and is now 2.1 million lower than in 2008 (8.8 million compared with 10.9 million).

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