The number of visits abroad by UK residents remained static in the 12 months to the end of November last year.
According to the latest figures from the ONS, the numbers remained broadly the same at 55.7 million.
Broken down region by region, visits to Europe increased 1% to 43.3 million, visits to North America rose 1% to 3.6 million, while visits to other parts of the world dropped 6% to 8.8 million.
Holiday visits fell 1% to 36.2 million, business visits fell 1% to 6.7 million while visits to friends or relatives increased 4% to 11.3 million. Visits for miscellaneous reasons dropped 12% to 1.5 million.
But while visits remained static, expenditure on overseas visits fell by 3% to £30.9 billion.
ABTA research manager Stephen D’Alfonso said the figures show the market remained resilient despite tough trading conditions, with consumers feeling the squeeze, and the Eurozone crisis contributing to market uncertainty.
"What we are seeing is a slight decline in numbers during the traditional peak summer season, suggesting that holidaymakers may be spreading out their travel across the year rather than cutting back," he said.
"Feedback from the ABTA Consumer Trends survey shows that holidays are the last to go when the public is cutting back on spending, with consumers choosing to make savings on eating out or home improvements before losing out on their holiday.
"The significant drop in travellers to long haul destinations during the summer suggests that the high rates of APD taxes that have a greater impact on longer haul destinations, may be impacting consumer choice."
Meanwhile, the ONS figures showed incoming visits to the UK have risen by 2% over the 12 months to 30.6 million, but earnings fell 5% to £17.8 billion.
by Bev Fearis
Friday, January 13, 2012