‘Returnerism’ trending among UK holidaymakers, ATOL research

‘Returnerism’ is common among UK holidaymakers, with nearly a third of people (30 per cent) returning to the same holiday destination every single year, new research from ATOL (Air Travel Organiser’s License) has found.

According to a release by Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), the UK’s specialist aviation regulator, from survey results an average person has been to the same holiday resort four times, and more than a tenth of UK holidaymakers (11 per cent) have returned to the same holiday spot ten or more times. ‘Returnerism’ also signals that holidaymakers eliminate middlemen as they become more familiar with holiday booking and destinations. Two fifths (40 per cent) of travellers book their flights, hotel and transfer all independently, rather than booking them together through a travel company.

However, a common side effect of ‘returnerism’ is that tourists fail to check for ATOL protection – potentially putting their holiday at risk, the release said. Booking an ATOL protected holiday through a UK travel company would mean holidaymakers are protected even if the company ceases trading, it added.

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.’

According to the research, 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. Also long distance destinations do not deter tourists from returning, with both Orlando and California also featuring in the top ten.

Holidaymakers are likely to follow their usual travel traditions at the destination too. Nearly a third of people (31 per cent) said they book the same hotel and a tenth (nine per cent) will even look for the same room. Over a third of the 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, the release noted

The ATOL survey was conducted, in February – questioning 2,000 UK adults who holiday abroad. ‘Returnerism’ has been defined as ‘an ‘illness’ which UK holidaymakers find themselves suffering from when they return to the same holiday destination year in year out.’