What you need to know

Some 17% of UK (United Kingdom) adults have taken a holiday on their own in the five years ending July 2018. This is a two percentage point rise from July 2017. Solo travel occupies an important and growing space in the overall market.

The majority of these are ‘pure solo’ travellers. Some 2% of UK adults have travelled on their own but joined a group holiday with people they did not know. Around one in seven of all solo travellers (15%) therefore go on group holidays. Group holidays account for a relatively small niche in the solo travel market and have large potential for growth, particularly the escorted tour sector.

There continues to be gradual improvement on issues such as the single-person room supplement, and the availability of solo cabins on cruise ships. Solo travel remains a low priority however for many larger mainstream tour operators, OTAs (Online Travel Aggregators), and hotels. This is an area where the P2P (Peer-to-Peer) sector, led by brands such as Airbnb, could play a disruptive role.

Covered in this Report

Solo holidays refer to overnight trips either in the UK or abroad of one night or more made for leisure purposes. This Report also makes a distinction between ‘pure solo’ holidays (where people go on holiday just on their own) and solo holidays where people travel on their own but join a group of people they do not know (eg a group holiday or escorted tour).

Data on the size of the domestic market is for Great Britain rather than the United Kingdom (ie Northern Ireland is not included), sourced from VisitBritain’s GBTS (Great Britain Tourism Survey). Data for the overseas market is for the United Kingdom is sourced from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) IPS (International Passenger Survey).

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