• People in the UK are creatures of habit with nearly a third (30 per cent) returning to the same resort every year

  • Spain tops the list of most returned to country

  • A common side effect of 'returnerism' includes tourists failing to check for ATOL protection - potentially putting their holiday at risk

New research from ATOL has found that 'returnerism'* is widespread among UK holidaymakers, with nearly a third of people (30 per cent) returning to the same holiday destination every single year.

The average person has been to the same holiday resort four times and more than a tenth of UK holidaymakers (11 per cent) are such creatures of habit that they have returned to the same holiday spot ten or more times.

A growing symptom of 'returnerism' includes holidaymakers cutting out the middle man as they become more familiar with their destination and putting their own holidays together. Two fifths (40 per cent) are booking their flights, hotel and transfer all independently, rather than booking them together through a travel company.

A worrying side effect of this DIY approach to booking holidays is people not realising that their trip is not ATOL protected if they book the different parts separately. Booking an ATOL protected holiday through a UK travel company means holidaymakers are protected even if the company ceases trading. So anyone booking their own travel arrangements separately could be putting their hard earned cash at risk if one of the companies they book with goes bust.

Top destinations UK holidaymakers keep going back to

The most popular country for tourists to return to is Spain, with The Canary Islands, The Balearic Islands, Costa del Sol and Benidorm all featuring in the list of top holiday resorts most commonly returned to. Spain has now topped the holiday destination charts for the past 25 years with over 30 million** people travelling to and from Spain each year. It seems that long distances do not keep tourists from flying back for more, with both Orlando and California also featuring in the top ten.

Holidaymakers like to follow their travel traditions once they have landed too. Nearly a third of people (31 per cent) admitted to booking the same hotel and a tenth (9 per cent) will even try to book the same room. A third of hungry tourists (34 per cent) will dine at the same restaurant and over a quarter (26 per cent) will go to the same pub or bar on every trip.

Commenting on the research, Andy Cohen, Head of ATOL said: “Our research shows that many of us in the UK are creatures of habit who love the comfort of taking our well-earned summer breaks in familiar surroundings that we know inside out.

“But with so many UK tourists returning to the same holiday destination year after year, they may be tempted to book their own arrangements rather than use a travel company. If you book a 'DIY' holiday in this way you will not be ATOL protected - losing out on that important protection for your holiday and money if something happens to the companies you book with.

“So even when people know their destination really well, it's important to remember to pack peace of mind when booking, by checking for ATOL protection. Booking flights and accommodations together with a UK travel company means you will be ATOL protected, your money will be safe and you can concentrate on looking forward to that well-earned holiday.”

Top 10 holiday destinations to return to:

  Destination Country/state Region
1 Paris France Europe
2 Canary Islands Spain Europe
3 Balearic Islands Spain Europe
4 Orlando Florida, US USA
5 Algarve Portugal Europe
6 Costa del Sol Spain Europe
7 Corfu Greece Europe
8 Benidorm Spain Europe
9 California California, US USA
10 Crete Greece Europe

Visit www.packpeaceofmind.co.uk for more information about ATOL protection.


Notes to Editors

Survey of 2,000 UK adults who holiday abroad conducted by Mortar on behalf of ATOL between 26th and 28th February

*Returnerism: an “illness” which UK holidaymakers find themselves suffering from when they return to the same holiday destination year in year out.

**Based on airport figures from the Civil Aviation Authority

About ATOL

  1. The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is the UK's specialist aviation regulator. Its regulatory activities range from making sure that the aviation industry meets the highest technical and operational safety standards to preventing holidaymakers from being stranded abroad or losing money because of tour operator insolvency
  2. The ATOL scheme covers the traditional package holiday, some individual flights and holidays known by the industry as 'Flight-Plus'. A 'Flight-Plus' booking is one that includes a flight plus accommodation and/or car hire, so long as these separate parts of the holiday are requested within a day of each other.
  3. The Air Travel Trust (ATT) is the primary source of funding when an ATOL holder fails. It is administered on behalf of the ATT by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).