Mintel estimates the total market volume for group holidays/escorted tours in 2013, at around 13.3 million trips, split between 7.4 million domestic and 5.9 million overseas holidays. Therefore, around one in seven holidays taken by UK adults are in group format.

Although this is one of those holiday types that tend to polarise consumer opinion, demographic trends towards an ageing population and solo living appear to be working in its favour, creating new demand in the pre-/no family and post-family groups. As traditional family structures and class identities loosen, the internet is opening up new forms of interaction and social identity that could open up alternative forms of holiday-taking around shared interests and values.

This report analyses the influential factors on the group holidays market; looks at some of the leading companies involved in the main segments of the market and the types of products they are offering; and includes consumer analysis examining who takes group holidays; positive and negative attitudes; and what kinds of products might encourage people to take group holidays in the future. This is the first time that Mintel has reported on this market.


Group holidays are defined as overnight trips either in the UK or abroad, where people join or travel with a group of other people, usually led by a tour guide/host. Examples include: escorted tours such as coach, rail or sightseeing trips; group adventure/activity holidays; special interest group holidays; singles holidays or youth holidays such as Club 18-30.

The standard travel and tourism definitions used in the terminology of this report are as follows:

  • Tourism is any travel, which involves an overnight stay away from home.

  • A holiday is a subjectively defined form of tourism, as defined by the tourist in response to surveys such as the International Passenger Survey (IPS) or the Great Britain Tourism Survey (GBTS). A holiday can be distinguished from other leisure travel such as visits to friends and relatives (VFR) or shopping trips.

  • A long holiday is a holiday of four nights or more away from home; a short break is a holiday that involves one-to-three nights away from home.

  • Short-haul refers to air holidays within Europe, dominated by flights to Mediterranean resorts but including the Canary Islands, which are treated as a part of the Spanish market. Long-haul, therefore, refers to holidays outside of Europe.

  • EU Europe (15) destinations refer to the member countries in the European Union prior to the accession of ten further countries in 2004. The EU 15 destinations are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

  • An inclusive tour or package holiday is defined as the simultaneous sale of at least two elements of a holiday to the traveller, such as fares on public transport (eg flights) and commercial accommodation (eg hotel or self-catering apartment). Other elements, such as meals or excursions, are not essential to the definition of an inclusive tour.

  • The term ‘all-inclusive’ is used to describe a special type of holiday resort in which food, drink, and other services are provided as part of the total holiday cost.

  • An independent holiday is one in which the traveller organises and books transport and accommodation from separate sources (eg a Channel ferry crossing and a caravan site in France).

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In addition to quantitative consumer research, Mintel also conducted an online discussion group among a demographically mixed group of around 15 consumers.

This discussion group was asynchronous (ie not run in real time), functioning like a blog or bulletin board, with questions remaining posted for a pre-determined period of time. This method allows participants to respond reflectively, at their leisure, or to log off to think about any issues raised, and return later to respond. Participants were recruited from GMI’s online consumer panel.


APD Air Passenger Duty
CPI Consumer Price Index
EU European Union
GAD Government Actuaries Department
GBTS Great Britain Tourism Survey
IPS International Passenger Survey
ONS Office for National Statistics
RHS Royal Horticultural Society
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