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U.K. Market Profile

Visit California’s London office in the United Kingdom dates back to 1999, and the country has remained a top-tier market ever since. Year after year, travelers from the U.K. market are drawn to the unique California way of life and the perception of Californians’ laid-back, welcoming demeanor. Though the horizon is uncertain as the United Kingdom transitions out of the European Union, the effects on outbound travel thus far have been fairly mild, providing continued potential for growth in the market.


MAJOR TAKEAWAYS

  • U.K. consumers are looking to spend more in order to secure the exact holiday desired
  • With the pound weakened against the dollar, consumers are looking for value-adds to ensure they are getting something extra from their holiday expenditure
 
  • Consumers at the luxury end of the U.K. market are looking for unique experiences and ways to enrich lavish travels with authenticity
  • Growing mobile use for planning confirms value in most operators’ move to mobile-first technology
 

Travel Profile

720,000
In-Person Trips, 2016
$1.052 Billion
Visitor Spending, 2016

Market Conditions

GDP Annual Growth Rate

While commentators predicted another recession in the aftermath of a pro-Brexit vote, the reality in the United Kingdom has been somewhat muted. The luxury sector continues to outperform the mainstream and value end of the market 

Exchange Rate

The pound has weakened against the dollar and driven the price of holidays to the United States up by around 15 percent in some cases, but customers continue to book holidays, reaffirming that the British holidaymaker is more resilient than some of their continental counterparts. In general, Visit California’s United Kingdom trade partners are approaching 2017 with cautious optimism and continue to watch forward bookings that may have slowed a little since the Brexit vote; target segments for California are considered less sensitive to currency fluctuations than those considering a holiday to destinations such as Florida.

Check current exchange rates on www.xe.com


Travel & Planning Methodologies

Airlift

  • 124 weekly nonstop flights
  • 38,407 weekly nonstop seats
 

Booking

  • Planning time frame: up to five months
  • Booking time frame: evenly spread from 30 days to six months
  • Approximately 32 percent of visitors book with traditional operators, with the remainder booking through online travel agencies and directly with airlines
  • Over 90 tour operators package California in the United Kingdom, catering for all tastes, niches and budgets
 

Market Barriers & Risk Factors

 

Sources

  • U.S. Department of Commerce
  • Tourism Economics 
  • CIC Research, Inc.
  • Numbers and anecdotal feedback provided by Trade Partners including Abercrombie & Kent and Elegant Resorts
  • Nielsen
  • Carat CCS
  • ABTA Travel Trends Report 2016

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