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The UK holiday market is primed for a resurgence as pent-up travel demand drives travel bookings. According to the latest research from Mintel, Brits are set to splash out £54 billion* on domestic and overseas travel in 2022, up 161% from £21 billion in 2021. Despite the predicted sales growth, the market will still fall 7% short of its pre-COVID level when it was worth £58 billion in 2019.

While Brits are free to spread their wings far and wide once again, Mintel predicts the UK domestic travel market will fare better than the overseas travel market. Domestic holiday spending is estimated to reach £15.7 billion in 2022, 9% higher than in 2019. Meanwhile, spending on overseas holidays is forecast to hit £38.2 billion in 2022, falling 12% short of 2019’s figure of £43.3 billion.

Airport chaos is proving to be a major deterrent for Brits, as almost three-quarters (72%) of British travellers say reports of long queues at airports have put them off flying until the situation has normalised. This comes as 81% of British holidaymakers** say they are likely to travel within the UK in the next 2 years.

The cost of living crisis is proving to be the biggest barrier to travel for those planning to spend less or nothing at all over the next 12 months, as over half (52%) of this group say they can’t afford to spend as much on holidays as they could before COVID-19. The pandemic remains a key concern for this group of consumers, as three in ten (30%)*** say they are worried about COVID-related disruption to their itinerary (eg changes to travel regulations, not meeting entry requirements).

Paul Davies, Category Director, Travel, Leisure and Foodservice, Mintel Reports UK, said:

“Inflation – including the cost of travel and car hire – together with airport disruptions and the ongoing uncertainty regarding COVID-19 are some of the challenges holidaymakers are having to deal with at present. Despite this, having missed out on opportunities to travel during 2020 and 2021, many consumers are willing to overlook potential travel disruptions and the impact of inflation and treat themselves to a long-awaited holiday this year. While spending is expected to grow, sales will fall short of pre-COVID-19 values; regardless, it’s a testament to how much consumers have missed the chance to get away.

“The rising cost of living will force holidaymakers to prioritise expenditure carefully, just as they did during the last income squeeze. Short overseas trips and city breaks will take longer to recover as Brits prioritise their main holiday, whilst lower-cost staycations and camping breaks will perform strongly.”

*Spending on holidays; excludes business or other trips such as visiting family and friends.
**Those who typically took holidays prior to COVID-19 or who plan to holiday in the next two years.
***Those who took holidays prior to COVID-19 and plan to spend less or nothing on holidays in the next 12 months compared to prior to COVID-19.