Day Tripper: Restaurants and bars drive 250 million UK day visits

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: English tourism, England, London

Eating and drinking out was the main reason behind 250 million day trips last year and added £5bn to the £54bn UK day visit economy, according to a new survey by VisitEngland
Eating and drinking out was the main reason behind 250 million day trips last year and added £5bn to the £54bn UK day visit economy, according to a new survey by VisitEngland
Going out for meals and drinks has been revealed by VisitEngland to be the second most popular reason for day trips in the UK with 250 million trips in 2011 helping to boost the worth of the day visit economy to £54bn.

In the first ever survey into the importance of day visits to the UK economy, VisitEngland conducted 38,000 interviews with people about the tourism day trips they had made in the previous seven days. Residents of Great Britain made 1.5bn tourism day trips last year and spent nearly £44bn in England alone.

London and the South East were the most popular areas for day visits in 2011, while the North West followed as the destination of choice in 173 million day trips last year.

Eating out

The most popular reason for a day trip in the UK is to visit friends and family. 350 million trips were made for that reason in 2011 but this represented an average spend of just £18.

Restaurants and bars meanwhile came second in the top ten reasons for a day trip and accounted for a higher average spend per visit. Eating or drinking out accounted for over a third of the total money spent on trips in the UK last year.

Great year

James Berresford, the chief executive of VisitEngland which is leading the English Tourism Week promotional campaign, said the survey highlighted the importance of day visits in a year when lots of events could drive more domestic trips.

“Day visits are enormously important to the industry and the British economy and represent the cornerstone of the tourism industry in this country. English Tourism Week kicks off what promises to be a great year marked by amazing events such as the Torch Relay, The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Cultural Festival.”

Over £5bn was spent by day trippers going out for a meal in 2011, according to the survey conducted in partnership with the national tourist boards of Wales and Scotland.

The figures also show while eating out accounts for the main reason for many of the day visits made last year, restaurants also receive a boost from people dining while on trips made for a different main reason. Over 360 million visits were made to restaurants last year while people were making visits across the country.


English Tourism Week was kicked off on Saturday and received the support of Prince Charles​ who agreed to be the patron for the event which is designed to raise the profile of domestic tourism.

The week coincides with the launch of the​ website promoting discounts of 20.12 per cent or more which is a part of VisitEngland’s largest ever domestic tourism marketing campaign – Holidays at Home are GREAT!

The ‘staycation’ trend of domestic tourism led to seven out of ten UK holidaymakers choosing to stay in the country for their short break last year​. While the London 2012 Olympics and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations are expected to aid tourism and the hospitality sector, concerns still remain about the strength of the economy and the possible impact of the Games​.

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