Travel trends

UK International Passenger Survey Results for Jan-May 2022

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) who are responsible for the International Passenger Survey (IPS) released their latest monthly summary on the 20th September. This means they have now published the data for Jan-May 2022, for this time period overseas visits to the UK were -40% compared to 2019 levels. As they haven’t been able to interview travellers at Eurotunnel during the first 5 months of 2022, they have updated their 2019 data to exclude Eurotunnel visits to allow for a better understanding of how 2022 inbound tourism is performing compared to previous years.

UK International Passenger Survey Results Jan-May 2022

VisitEngland Annual Survey of Visits to Visitor Attractions for 2021

On 6 September VisitEngland published its Annual Survey of Visits to Visitor Attractions in England for 2021. It was a self-completion survey of which 1,142 English attractions contributed to the survey.

Some key insights include:

  • In 2021, attractions began to reopen and build back from the pandemic, visits to visitor attractions in England increased by 30% overall compared to 2020 (down 55% on 2019).
  • The increase was driven by domestic visitors (+26%). Inbound travel to the UK reduced further in 2021 (according to the International Passenger Survey) and this had a direct impact on the volume of overseas visitors to English attractions with a 39% decrease reported.
  • Impacted by the lower levels of visitors, adult admission fees increased significantly in 2021 (+11%).
  • The pace of recovery varied substantially across visitor attraction categories. Museums/Art Galleries have struggled the most to build back, with an increase of 18% in visits in 2021. This is compared to Steam/Heritage Railways who saw the largest percentage increase out of all visitor categories with an increase of 118%.
  • Urban attractions overall saw the smallest percentage increase in visits in 2021 (up 23%) partly due to lockdown restrictions delaying their reopening but also people being more reluctant to visit indoor attractions. The increase was on an average fall in visitors of 74% in 2020 compared to 2019. Attractions in coastal areas fared better with visits up 47% in 2021, following a drop of 59% in 2020 versus 2019.
  • London attractions, with their greater reliance on international visitors, saw the lowest percentage increase in visitor numbers to attractions in 2021, up just 12%, with lower confidence in using public transport a factor. It follows the 77% drop in visits to London attractions in 2020, when compared to 2019.

Visitor Attraction Trends in England 2021

Expedia Q2 2022 Traveller Insights Report

Expedia have released their Q2 Traveller Insights Report, based on their search data and custom research. Some key highlights include:

  • During Q2, more than 50% annual increase in traveller demand globally for long-haul flights.
  • Both London and Paris have spiked in popularity around the world.
  • Inclusive/accessible travel is becoming increasingly important, and 7 in 10 consumers would choose a destination, accommodation or transportation option that is more inclusive of all types of travellers, even if it’s more expensive. There’s a gap in accessible and inclusive options in the travel marketplace, and there are opportunities for travel brands to improve offerings and make travel accessible to all travellers.
  • 90% of consumers look for sustainable options when traveling, though 70% feel overwhelmed by starting the process of being a more sustainable traveller. As destinations and travel providers increase their focus on sustainability, there are growing opportunities to connect with travellers who are seeking information and guidance on how to make more responsible travel choices, as well as authentic brand commitments.

Expedia Group - Q2 2022 Traveller Insights Report

Expedia Inclusive Travel Report - Understanding Traveller Values & Opportunities for Marketers

Expedia conducted a survey of 11,000 people from 11 countries around the world (including the UK) to better understand the growing importance of inclusive travel. A growing number of travellers are seeking options that align with their values and provide an inclusive, welcoming experience. It is important for travel marketers to understand these evolving trends and expectations. A few key highlights include:

  • 92% of consumers think it’s important for travel providers to meet the accessibility needs of all travellers.
  • Overall, one billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, live with a disability, and have nearly half a trillion dollars in disposable income and they spend $95 billion on travel alone each year.
  • 7 in 10 consumers would choose a destination, lodging, or transportation option that is more inclusive to all types of travellers, even if it’s more expensive.
  • 78% of survey respondents said they have made a travel choice based on promotions or ads they felt represented them through messaging or visuals. For millennials that figure is even higher – 84% have made a travel choice based on representation in travel advertising.
  • 64% of consumers are interested in learning more about travel options that support local cultures and communities.

Expedia - Inclusive Travel Report 2022

VisitBritain Consumer Sentiment Tracker

The latest UK Sentiment Tracker to 07 March 2022 has showed consumer confidence in taking domestic as well as overseas trips over the spring period and over the next 12 months has increased since previous waves of the survey. The primary deterrents to UK travel are now personal finances, the weather and the rising costs of holidays. The deterrents are similar for overseas trips, but there is still some concern about the potential quarantine risk. Rising costs of travel are now more of a predominating concern than the fear of Covid and associated travel risks and restrictions.

European Travel Commission Sentiment Tracker

The latest ETC Sentiment Tracker to the 3rd week of March 2022 has showed increasing travel optimism amongst European consumers despite the conflict in Ukraine, although there has been a slight increase in concern over the economic situation and personal finances. While many have decided to travel over the coming season, only 25% have booked their next trip. Sun & Beach holidays are European’s top choice for the upcoming summer, followed by City Breaks and Coast & Sea trips. Flexible cancellation policies and fully-lifted travel restrictions are the leading confidence boosters.

VisitBritain European post EU-exit research

VisitBritain have published research (undertaken between February 2022 – April 2022) which includes analysis of levels of passport and ID card ownership amongst Europeans, to gauge their understanding of conditions for travel to Britain and their perceptions. Some key insights include:

  • Almost 7 in 10 (69%) of European international travellers own a passport although this varies significantly between countries - in France this figure is only 59%.
  • While about 7 in 10 Europeans correctly understand that they need a passport to travel to the UK, more than a third (36%) still believe that a national ID card is valid for entry, which is no longer the case. This number rises to 45% in France and 40% in Germany. There may be a need to provide more information to these markets.
  • The majority of Europeans surveyed who do not currently hold a passport state they would get one to enter Britain. However, 15% said that they would stop travelling to Britain as ID cards are longer accepted. This rises to nearly one in five (19%) in both France and Germany.

VisitBritain European Post EU-Exit Research May 2022

Traveller Value Index 2022 Outlook - Expedia Group 

Expedia Group recently published a report on Traveller Value Index - some key insights on future predicted travel trends from the report are detailed below, and you can access the full report on the download link. 

  • Leisure travel will return with more frequent, shorter trips
  • People will spend more on travel compared to pre-Covid
  • Accumulated loyalty points will help to fund trips
  • International travel will start to make a comeback
  • Booking flexibility will remain a top priority
  • People will travel more responsibly and consciously
  • Sustainability will become more important
  • Increased focus on travel for personal wellbeing

The Skift megatrends 2025 report. 

Explore insights around the key trends that are expected to shape travel in a post-COVID world.

The Skift megatrends 2025 report includes useful insights on the below topics:

•    Travel’s New Cadence Is More Deliberate, Introspective and Soulful
•    Backyard Tourism Is On a Pedestal But Far-Flung Exploration Recovers
•    Hotels Are Back With Big Upsides for Owners Who Stuck Out the Hard Times
•    Work From Anywhere Spurs a New Type of Business Travel
•    Asia Bulks Up Even As It Looks Inward
•    Travel Sectors Get Scrambled, Definitions Blur
•    The Subscription Model Becomes a Staple of Travel Industry Renewal
•    Humbled Airlines Back Away From Any Brash New Ventures
•    Cruise Lines Partner, Prune and Take Refuge In Their Private Islands
•    The Rise of Global Mobile Wallets Upends Travel Payments
•    The Robots You See and the Ones You Don’t Accelerate Automation
•    More Mainstream Short-Term Rentals Cope With New Headwinds
•    Product Mediocrity Seeds a New Era of Travel Industry Disruption
•    Renewed Strength Matters in 2025


ABTA has identified five key trends that are shaping people’s travel plans for 2022, based on expert insight and research, as well as booking data from their Members. 

  • Catching up on missed holidays
  • More reliance upon travel agents and experts
  • A trend toward domestic cruise ‘seacations’
  • Added protection and peace of mind from a package holiday
  • Travel for reconnection with family and friends

    ABTA report - Travel in 2022