News Turning Staycationers into Vacationers: the global battle for international tourists

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Turning Staycationers into Vacationers: the global battle for international tourists

The global recession has led to an increasing trend for staycations

The global recession, which has led to an increasing trend for staycations, has meant that the battle for lucrative tourists’ spend is even more intense than ever before.


With such challenging economic conditions, tourist boards need to fight for every visitor using their arsenal of attractions, whether that be the promise of value or a unique experience only available at their location.

Skyscanner reveals which nations are proving most successful in tempting tourists away from their staycations and on to international vacations.

Analysing flight search patterns of almost 10 million monthly users, Skyscanner can reveal that Spain ranked number one as the most searched for country overall. The Iberian nation was the most popular holiday destination globally, receiving the most interest from Skyscanner users across all markets.

In second place was the UK itself, followed by the USA, Italy, Germany and France.

Turkey narrowly outranked rival Greece; Portugal was the ninth most popular whilst Poland came in at number ten, outranking many better known tourist destinations.

Barry Smith, Skyscanner Co-founder and Business Director commented:

“The UNWTO reports that international tourist arrivals have increased after last year’s downturn, with varied but positive growth in all world regions. Skyscanner is particularly strong in the UK and European markets and our data reflects this, so it’s perhaps not surprising that Spain ranks so highly. Nevertheless, with visitors from 233 countries and territories, we can give a very good indication of which destinations are the most popular with global travellers.”

Most searched for countries by global Skyscanner users*

1. Spain
2. UK
3. USA
4. Italy
5. Germany
6. France
7. Turkey
8. Greece
9. Portugal
10. Poland

Who’s coming to the UK?

Looking specifically at inbound tourism for the UK, Skyscanner can reveal that Spain is the biggest originator of the UK’s tourist traffic. The close ties between the two countries and the fact that Spain also has a large British ex-pat community are likely to be significant factors in this.

Italy was ranked as the second biggest provider of tourists, followed by the Germans who are the world’s biggest spenders on tourism according to the World Tourism Organisation.

Poland ranked 4th, likely due to the large numbers of Poles who have come to live and work in the UK. Ireland, which has long had extremely close ties with the UK, placed 5th.

Origin of Inbound Tourists to UK

1. Spain
2. Italy
3. Germany
4. Poland
5. Ireland
6. France
7. United States
8. Greece
9. Turkey
10. Cyprus

*data from last 30 days