Home Travel Money 10 Years of Data Predicts the Go-to Holiday Destinations for Brits Now COVID Is Over
10 Years of Data Predicts the Go-to Holiday Destinations for Brits Now COVID Is Over

10 Years of Data Predicts the Go-to Holiday Destinations for Brits Now COVID Is Over

With the coronavirus pandemic cancelling many holiday plans over the past two years, Brits are itching to jump back on a plane for the first time and enjoy some time abroad. Now all travel restrictions have been lifted in the UK, where are the travel spots Brits want to visit first in the world?

To establish the expected changes to tourism and GBP(£) spend abroad going forwards, MoneyTransfers.com analysed 10 years’ worth of UK travel data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – 2009 – 2019, to discover and predict where Brits will be travelling to in the next 10 years now that travel is well and truly back on again since Covid!

The past ten years have carved out certain destinations as hotspots for Brits, with different places ranking higher depending on gender, and also how much money Brits are willing to spend on a holiday.

Using this data, MoneyTransfers.com has been able to predict travel habits over the next decade and beyond, calculating the impact UK holidaymakers will have on travel and tourism within this time frame. 

To stay ahead of the crowds, MoneyTransfers.com has listed out where in the world Brits should start booking, now that they have their freedom to travel restored. 

Most popular destinations for Brits in 2022

With its famous paella and Mediterranean beaches, Spain has stolen the top spot for 10 years now as the most popular holiday destination amongst Brits. According to our data, there’s no sign of this trend slowing down. Google searches in the UK for the term “holidays to Spain” are up by 73% this year with Brits itching to return to their favourite holiday destination. 

In 2009, Spain had as many as 10,594,622 visitors from the UK but in 2020, travel and tourism took a real hit during the pandemic. 

Despite this, 2022 is set to bring a record high of 16,225,074 tourists into Spain, with Brits spending an estimated £9.9billion to help to boost the economy.

In the past 13 years alone, Spain has experienced an overall growth of 47% thanks to Brits who are committed to holidaying there every year.

In second spot, holidaymakers are set to visit France in numbers as great as 7,003,544 in 2022 – which is significantly less than Spain, but will still bring in an estimated spend of £4.5billion to the country who prides itself on fine wine and pastries. 

Italy is predicted to be the third most popular destination for Brits this year, raking in £2.6billion for its 3,655,090 tourists.

Interestingly, the top four destinations for Brits are European countries, as the USA comes in at fifth place. Considering warm weather and sandy beaches are only a few hours away by plane from the UK, a European holiday is a no-brainer for Brits wanting to stay closer to home.

In fact, in the last month alone, Google searches for ‘european holidays’ have jumped up by 82% so it’s worth getting those holiday plans booked as soon as possible. 

Most Popular Holiday Destinations 2022 

RankDestinationEst. VisitsEst. SpendEst. Spend Per Person
1Spain16,225,074.76£9,884,187,953.14£630.78
2France7,003,544.84£4,474,264,993.03£593.03
3Italy3,655,090.18£2,634,823,218.59£730.846
4Greece3,200,706.24£2,327,755,710.28£719.76
5USA2,910,369.07£4,078,868,767.97£1,471.12
6Portugal2,742,221.34£1,780,762,038.13£688.76
7Netherlands2,318,372.25£803,718,346.20£415.93
8Turkey1,771,732.69£1,298,139,943.56£671.92
9Germany1,411,157.00£822,198,324.35£590.05
10Ireland1,277,727.55£604,440,068.99£383.77
11Belgium1,092,751.05£442,688,472.70£353.56
12United Arab Emirates909,891.04£953,733,315.00£1,126.13
13Poland855,744.08£336,964,857.22£380.05
14Cyprus EU817,169.20£685,587,099.70£824.96
15Malta771,184.87£411,969,135.39£521.76
16Croatia752,239.91£508,200,049.96£753.31
17Mexico730,717.74£808,647,708.37£1,251.81
18Switzerland628,377.37£483,227,202.28£730.84
19Czech Republic574,748.88£225,721,154.15£395.11
20Hungary565,996.86£233,109,749.78£458.26

Least popular destinations amongst Brits in 2022

RankDestinationVisits
1Luxembourg24,151.42
2Slovenia36,104.82
3Estonia39,057.44
4New Zealand49,307.76
5Pakistan49,670.27
6Cyprus Non EU55,355.41
7Egypt58,562.39
8Slovakia72,996.12
9Gibraltar76,204.81
10Sri Lanka93,505.51

If you’re hoping to avoid the popular tourist destinations and skip the crowds, here are the places that Brits will visit the least this year. Our data shows the small country of Luxembourg to be at the bottom of the list with only 24,151 visits, followed by Slovenia and then Estonia.

Although it might be a small country, Luxembourg is filled with many beautiful towns, castles and fortresses which are well worth exploring. It is also the second wealthiest country in the world and since 1994, the fortress and old city centre have been recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. 

Most popular ‘girls’ holidays’ destinations for 2022

RankDestinationEstimated VisitsEstimated Spend
1Spain7,334,194.71£4,157,830,580.26
2France2,613,360.61£1,324,154,043.29
3Italy1,668,547.40£1,225,845,632.03
4Greece1,383,215.24£981,903,914.78
5Portugal1,265,654.31£742,200,486.16
6USA1,261,654.59£1,673,332,693.87
7Netherlands859,472.98£344,060,712.97
8Turkey675,756.79£464,638,068.25
9Germany557,352.78£290,778,923.05
10Ireland464,763.22£190,354,822.38

With famous party capitals like Ibiza and Marbella, it’s no surprise that Spain is the most popular spot for a ‘girls’ holiday’ in 2022, with female tourists spending as much as £4.2billion for their trips there. For many women in their early 20s/30s, Spain is the perfect place for a girl’s holiday providing a great balance between a relaxing daytime atmosphere, and fun, lively nightlife on the infamous strips. With 18.5m hashtags on Instagram, Ibiza seems to be one of the favourites amongst holiday-goers. France ranks as the next best option, accounting for 2,613,360 visits and then Italy with 1,668,547.40 visits. 

Despite the borders being firmly closed to tourists for a long duration of the pandemic, the USA ranks within the top 10 for being the most popular holiday for girly trips away this year. 

With famous music festivals like Coachella back on the cards, it’s not difficult to see why there’s such a pull to take a trip across the pond and catch up on lost time. 

Most popular ‘lads’ holiday destinations 2022

RankDestinationEstimated VisitsEstimated Spend
1Spain8,900,393.83£6,095,134,861.38
2France4,399,607.34£2,842,835,794.48
3Italy1,987,379.15£1,405,097,549.51
4Greece1,820,489.65£1,307,276,321.80
5USA1,649,596.55£2,610,295,759.35
6Portugal1,476,798.61£1,147,942,036.32
7Netherlands1,459,430.52£620,222,384.16
8Turkey1,103,568.02£730,304,623.85
9Germany854,498.56£543,264,470.80
10Ireland814,890.95£300,135,611.72

Despite the different expectations that are sometimes set out for lad’s holidays, the most popular locations predicted for their respective trips in 2022 are not too dissimilar, with Spain, France and Italy still claiming the top three spots.

According to the data, however, it is predicted that more males will visit Spain in 2022 than females with 1,566,199 more males choosing Spain as their holiday destination this year. 

According to the research, the USA is a slightly more popular destination for males than it is for females, securing the fifth best spot for a lads’ trip to get away from the UK, with an estimated 1,649,596 visits. Whereas Portugal ranks slightly lower in comparison with 1,476,798 visits. 

The research also revealed that men appear to have more extravagant holidays and spend more money during their time away from home. Therefore purchasing a plane ticket to the USA as opposed to Portugal is more within their budget. 

For example, it’s predicted that 387,942 more males than females will decide to holiday in the USA during 2022 and they are set to spend £936million more than females in comparison overall.

Where Brits top holiday destinations in the next 10 years (2032)

DestinationEstimated VisitsEstimated Spend
1Spain23,903,449.48£12,889,847,135.05
2France6,521,596.96£12,234,502,264.22
3Italy6,453,655.67£5,572,394,617.44
4Greece5,454,182.97£5,598,682,483.78
5Netherlands5,324,678.18£390,639,963.97
6Portugal4,364,715.63£2,015,108,591.56
7USA3,632,370.19£4,480,438,266.02
8Hungary2,603,028.29£424,726,220.98
9Germany2,561,548.30£1,953,490,805.57
10Croatia2,555,984.06£660,127,786.42
11Mexico2,519,798.30£1,117,900,042.57
12United Arab Emirates2,323,061.39£1,449,714,214.46
13Turkey2,109,530.46£4,903,948,541.99
14Poland1,690,191.70£875,001,449.10
15Malta1,626,243.85£950,065,252.31
16Ireland1,491,266.95£6,744,484,900.18
17Iceland1,472,322.83£1,962,492,720.08
18Belgium1,467,386.22£3,652,015,955.27
19Romania1,254,297.07£157,601,622.69
20Czech Republic1,073,844.41£504,887,039.92

Our data has also located where Brits will rush to for a holiday in 10 years from now, and the top three hotspots still remain just as popular as they’re expected to be this year, with Spain, France and Italy remaining the firm favourites amongst British travellers. 

However, according to the data, the money Brits are anticipated to spend on their holidays in 2032 will skyrocket from 2022, making the idea of holidays abroad even more unattainable for those who cannot afford to set a sufficient budget aside. 

For example, British tourists are set to spend a total of £7.8billion more on an annual holiday to France than they were 10 years previously.  

The USA will actually slip away from being the fifth most popular holiday destination for Brits, dropping to number 7 in 2032 with 3,632,370 visitors from the UK. 

Whereas the Netherlands will only grow in popularity, and Hungry is set for a boom in their travel and tourism industry, jumping to the top 10 most popular destinations; increasing its estimated number of tourists from 565,996 in 2022 to 2,603,028 by 2023. 

Where you should book your next girls’ and lads’ holiday (2032)

If we take a look into the data for girls’ and lads’ holidays, then we can assess where the most popular destinations will be in the next 10 years. 

Being aware of these rising trends is useful to bear in mind for those who are planning ahead and budgeting for future holidays.

Top ‘Girls’ Holidays

RankDestinationEstimated VisitsEstimated Spend
1Spain9,708,448.84£6,301,174,152.11
2Italy2,753,052.34£2,467,690,941.05
3Greece2,051,812.12£1,766,360,897.66
4France2,021,527.35£1,259,482,081.82
5Portugal1,932,881.60£1,321,622,454.35
6Netherlands1,820,262.98£1,019,397,480.26
7USA1,451,712.52£2,667,108,617.64
8Mexico1,273,784.52£1,991,711,166.44
9Hungary1,022,526.28£556,649,977.74
10Croatia1,008,870.85£644,593,359.32

For women, Spain and Italy will continue to steal the top spot but France will lose its current fascination by 2023. Instead, Greece is expected to jump up and replace France’s current spot, attracting as many as 2,051,812 female travellers. Greece has got everything you could want from a girls’ European holiday destination, with plenty of beautiful beaches, excellent resorts, incredible scenery and over 32k google searches for ‘holidays to Greece’ in the past month alone. It’s no surprise this destination will become even more popular within the next 10 years. 

Ireland is no longer in the top ten destinations for a girls’ trip away, and neither is Germany or Turkey. Instead, Mexico, Hungary and Croatia are set to be the next best spots. Mexico has become a popular destination in the past year thanks to several Instagram influencers choosing to holiday in places such as Tulum. After influencer Molly Mae shared her holiday to Tulum last month, Google searches for the zen-vibe, boho-chic holiday destination skyrocketed, with 68% more searches than last year.  

Top Male Holidays

RankDestinationEstimated VisitsEstimated Spend
1Spain14,489,211.87£13,322,017,747.76
2France4,682,023.75£4,498,974,875.14
3Italy3,731,573.90£3,018,259,411.06
4Netherlands3,529,809.27£1,877,339,645.53
5Greece3,509,466.93£2,921,546,783.93
6Portugal2,439,566.21£2,588,552,060.49
7USA2,203,697.92£5,049,293,957.30
8Turkey1,705,276.32£1,484,126,051.29
9Germany1,682,295.73£1,689,706,897.08
10Hungary1,580,579.62£822,922,887.07

Surprisingly, France is still expected to hold its position as the second most popular holiday destination for men, predicting a consistent number of 4,682,023 visitors in 2032.

The Netherlands has made its way slightly further up the priority list for a lads’ trip away and shockingly, Spain can still expect a huge spend of £13billion as their number of male tourists show no signs of slowing down. 

Most expensive holiday destinations where Brits will spend the most per person 

Based on dividing the total spend by total visits, Australia will have the overall highest average spend from Brits per person, per visit in 2022 with £3,245, followed by Japan (£2,810) and then New Zealand (£2,664). 

The data shows that the most expensive places for a holiday are mainly based outside of Europe, with Iceland being the only exception here because of its high cost of living as an island. 

For people living in the UK, travelling within Europe is a much faster and therefore cheaper option for holidays. For example, a flight that takes less than two hours to arrive in France compares quite drastically with an 18 hour plus flight to Australia. 

Top 10 countries where UK travellers will spend the most per person (2022)

RankDestinationEstimated Spend
1Australia£3,245.57
2Japan£2,810.92
3New Zealand£2,664.57
4China – Hong Kong£1,852.61
5Thailand£1,786.89
6South Africa£1,755.63
7Barbados£1,474.70
8USA£1,471.12
9Iceland£1,316.75
10Jamaica£1,260.88

Top 10 countries where UK travellers will spend the least per person (2022)

RankDestinationEstimated Spend
1Slovakia£266.62
2Gibraltar£333.86
3Belgium£353.56
4Poland£380.05
5Ireland£383.77
6Czech Republic£395.11
7Tunisia£405.97
8Netherlands£415.93
9Luxembourg£452.20
10Hungary£458.26

If you’re looking for a cheap get away, these are the holiday destinations that Brits are expected to spend the least this year. The cheapest option is Slovakia with Brits estimated to spend £266.62 per person, followed by Gibraltar (£333.86) and Belgium (£353.56) without flights. 

In comparison to the most expensive places for a holiday, the data shows places holidaymakers are to spend the least are all based inside Europe, with the exception of Tunisia. With the rising cost of living, it is no surprise that google searches for ‘cheap summer holidays’ have increased by a whopping 151% in the past year. So if you’re looking for somewhere affordable this year then definitely consider a European holiday destination. 

Top 10 countries where UK travellers will spend the most per person in the next 10 years (2032)

RankDestinationEstimated Spend
1Japan£5,568.34
2Australia£4,830.77
3China – Hong Kong£3,435.98
4New Zealand£3,411.69
5Iceland£2,782.75
6South Africa£2,427.32
7Thailand£2,311.35
8USA£2,028.77
9Barbados£1,977.45
10Norway£1,742.29

There are a few changes we can expect for the most expensive places to travel in 10 years from now. For example, in 2032, Brit’s will no longer spend the most per person in Australia, instead Japan will overtake Australia with an estimated spend of £5,568.34 per person, China -Hong Kong (£3,435.98) as the second most expensive and New Zealand in third (£3,411.69). 

It’s interesting to note that there are slightly more European countries that have moved into the most expensive destinations bracket, with Norway joining Iceland in the top 10 most expensive European countries to visit. 

Despite the list of destinations being slightly different, the overall average spend per person, per visit in 2023 is significantly higher than in 2022 and this drastic increase in costs is something for Brits to consider for the future. 

Top destinations for business trips 2022

RankDestinationEstimated VisitsEstimated Spend
1Ireland1,093,512.278£391,996,725.64
2France996,964.3974£578,774,316.85
3Germany959,708.2383£508,868,529.28
4USA822,747.3028£1,148,169,200.94
5Netherlands756,752.892£311,288,071.01
6Spain482,107.7627£273,028,110.17
7Belgium467,245.54£132,520,592.97
8Switzerland382,554.7953£143,868,752.36
9Italy356,787.6777£181,083,733.26
10Poland203,454.0968£147,282,377.88

With the pandemic forcing many Brits to adjust to remote working, office spaces are now welcoming their employees back again and colleagues are collaborating in-person once more. 

But now that travel restrictions have been lifted, there’s nothing preventing business owners from flying abroad for work, rather than staying put in the UK.

Travelling abroad isn’t all play though, and our research has flagged where in the world is best suited for business travel.

In fact, Ireland has been highlighted as the number one location for business owners to work from, predicting that there will be as many as 1,093,512 visits from British workers now that the coronavirus rules have relaxed more.

In a close second place for being hailed as a business travel capital, is France, followed by Germany.

In terms of the most expensive business capital, the USA demands more money from businesses by a long shot, with 2022 revealing an estimated spend of £1.1billion by British workers.   

Top destinations for business trips in the next 10 years (2032)

RankDestinationEstimated VisitsEstimated Spend
1Ireland4088,412.64£2,628,991,433.68
2USA1484,127.87£3,146,439,797.91
3Germany1158,109.41£945,416,061.75
4Netherlands1,070,749.56£590,112,457.63
5France795,318.68£812,068,200.07
6Switzerland675,979.40£169,007,358.29
7Spain666,148.07£320,387,216.40
8Latvia534,562.28£693,966,860.37
9Belgium521,859.15£92,044,408.75
10Poland482,597.59£713,810,097.62

In terms of planning ahead for the future, business owners will usually commit to a 10 year plan to set clear goals and measure success. 

This data will therefore help to narrow down any planning for business opportunities and travelling abroad, showcasing where most business trips will be heading by 2032.

Ireland will still be in high demand but France is off the top spot for entrepreneurs. 

Instead, the USA will make a huge jump forward for being the place to hustle abroad, with an estimated 1,484,127 visits from British workers and an increased spending to £3.1billion more than doubling since 2022.

Poland will still be in the top 10 locations for business trips by 2023, as is Belgium, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands and Germany. Whereas Latvia is a new work location on the list for 2023, so it’s worth considering this now for future use.

Looking even further into the future 2051 (30 years on) –

RankDestinationEstimated VisitsEstimated Spend
1Hungary55,056,502.14£1,327,857,529.65
2Spain51,880,997.91£21,346,694,428.89
3Romania35,241,891.46£256,732,144.02
4Iceland34,756,659.89£46,635,335,112.00
5Mexico29,963,878.82£2,068,358,600.65
6Croatia29,509,488.35£1,085,063,870.97
7Netherlands28,087,543.17£1,327,857,529.65
8Latvia28,046,535.92£477,631,080.39​​
9Italy20,119,685.02£23,125,630,923.84
10Greece15,837,895.64£29,666,606,383.65
11United Arab Emirates15,142,698.66£3,212,238,186.21
12Japan11,898,008.36£16,294,741,882.42
13Portugal11,057,650.30£2,548,674,240.96
14Germany8,440,282.39£10,113,406,445.35
15Malta7,231,693.21£4,647,742,598.88
16Poland6,593,561.96£5,363,085,010.67
17Norway6,522,972.08£22,305,807,984.50
18USA5,658,146.35£5,355,548,434.33
19France5,654,914.47£82,723,528,860.70
20Bulgaria4,701,687.28£41,328,076,149.09

According to our predictions, in 30 years time, the most popular destinations for Brits to travel to will vary significantly from those identified in 2022, and even 2032. Our needs and desires for travelling are influenced by a whole range of factors, and these pull factors for different countries across the globe will continue to shift.

For example, in 2051, Spain is predicted to be finally pushed off the number one tourist spot for Brits, and instead Hungary takes its place for being the go-to destination, with an estimated 55,056,502 tourists compared to its 565,996 figure in 2022.

Romania is another example of a location that will rise in demand over the next 30 years, having not even made the hotspot travel list in 2022, it’s estimated to achieve 35,241,891 visitors from the UK in 2051.

One thing is clear from this data, despite the challenges posed to the travel industry during the pandemic, this industry will only continue to grow and evolve with a rising number of visits and spending.

Conclusion

As travel begins to resume again, holidaymakers can look forward to well-deserved rests in the sun and get back to exploring other countries. It is great to see from the data that visits and spend from Brits abroad is on the upbringing in huge amounts of tourist revenue to foreign countries.  For both holidaymakers and businesses, this research could be vital in discovering new holiday hotspot destinations to visit before everyone else whilst also discovering how much on average Brits typically spend in their favourite destinations. 

Methodology 

MoneyTransfers.com analysed 10 years worth of UK travel data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – 2009 – 2019, to discover and predict where Brits will be travelling to in the next 10 years based on the compound annual growth rate and forecasting ahead at the same rate for each country. 2020-2021 data was not collected due to Covid therefore compound annual growth rates based on 2009-2019 were used to predict the future 30 years. 

Yasmin Purnell

Yasmin Purnell is a Content Writer and Editor for MoneyTransfers.com. Having over 5 years’ experience writing across a range of industries including finance, insurance, and travel, Yasmin joined the team with a mission to make international money transfers and everything they encompass accessible to all.