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Pooch power exerts influence on high demand for UK holidays

Press release   •   Jul 23, 2016 00:01 BST

©Lee Higham
  • 1.4m dog owners set to holiday in the UK because they want to take the family pet
  • Poldark-power reigns: Cornwall pulls clear of Scotland as our favourite destination
  • London is a big winner too: more will visit the capital this year and its iconic landmarks fill five of the top 10 places in a poll of the most visited cultural attractions
  • But survey reveals £000s lost on theft, holiday curtailment and cancellation as more than 318,000 people fail to take out travel insurance for UK holidays

Almost four-in-five (79 per cent) of people who are planning a holiday this year will be doing so in the UK1 – and one-in-twelve of them have chosen a domestic break so that they can take the family dog with them.Research for the Post Office Travel Insurance Domestic Holidays Report reveals that over 1.4 millionpeople will take a UK holiday with their dog – more than twice the number who will do so in order to watch the Olympic Games2.

The UK dog population now numbers 8.5 million according the 2016 Pet Population Report, which assesses that 24 per cent of UK households own dogs3, so the Post Office Travel Insurance survey means one-in-six of those dogs will go on holiday in the UK this year.Pooch power exerts even more of an influence in the North East, where 15 per cent of people want to holiday with their hounds, and north of the border where more than one-in-10 (11 per cent) of Scots have chosen to take a UK break so as not to leave their dog in a kennel.

In this year’s Post Office Travel Insurance survey of the most popular UK holiday destinations, Cornwall has now pulled ahead of Scotland to take the top spot4.If Poldark’s recent success at the television BAFTAs is anything to go by, when the programme won the only award voted for by the public, the TV series is still likely to be working to Cornwall’s advantage.Around one-in-six (16 per cent) of people say they will be headed to the Cornish peninsula for their holidays.

Slightly fewer people (15 per cent) are planning to visit Scotland and demand for Wales also appears to have dropped – down from 16 per cent last year to 13 per cent now.Instead, the big winner is London, tied for third place with Yorkshire and with 14 per cent of the vote.

A two percentage point increase in demand for London since last year’s survey sits alongside a significant rise in popularity for city breaks in the survey of the types of UK holiday planned.Almost a third (31 per cent) of those questioned by Post Office Travel Insurance say they are planning a city break in the UK this year5 and London is clearly the most popular choice.

London also boasts five of the 10 most visited cultural landmarks in Europe. The Tower of London and Big Ben, head a list of the 20 most visited heritage attractions by respondents, which includes Buckingham Palace (5th), the Houses of Parliament (6th) and St Paul’s Cathedral (10th).

In fact 18 of the top 20 places go to iconic UK landmarks and the poll reveals that up to 46 per cent of people have chosen to include visits to these while on their holidays. In sharp contrast, only two of those featuring in the top 20 are European cultural landmarks: the Eiffel Tower (tied in third place with the Blackpool Tower) and the Arc de Triomphe (8th place).

20 Most Popular Landmark Attractions

Tower of London46%Brighton Pier31%
Big Ben45%Cheddar Gorge29%
Blackpool Tower43%Windsor Castle29%
Eiffel Tower43%White Cliffs of Dover26%
Buckingham Palace37%Warwick Castle22%
Houses of Parliament35%Bath Roman Baths21%
Edinburgh Castle33%Hampton Court Palace20%
Arc de Triomphe33%Eden Project19%
Stonehenge32%The Needles19%
St. Paul's Cathedral31%Brighton Royal Pavilion18%

Despite the high volume of people planning UK holidays, a surprising number fail to take out travel insurance for their trip. The Post Office Travel Insurance research found that three-in-five (61 per cent) travelled without insurance on their last UK holiday6. Two-thirds (67 per cent) of this group did not think travel insurance was important, while 31 per cent admitted to not having thought about it at all.

Yet, based on the number of survey respondents who experienced losses because they did not have travel insurance, Post Office Travel Insurance estimates that over 318,000 people could put themselves at risk of financial loss when they holiday in the UK this year7.

When asked how much it cost them, 16 per cent of those respondents without travel insurance admitted losing an average of £2,326 as a result of the theft of their suitcase and its contents8.One-in-eight (12 per cent) of the uninsured holidaymakers lost out to the tune of £1,189 because they had to cut short their holiday due to injury,while cancelling UK trips on health grounds cost one-in-ten (nine per cent) an average of £916.

Among the third of people who did take out a single trip travel insurance policy for their UK holiday, relatively few (38 per cent) compared costs and chose the most comprehensive policy available at the cheapest price9.Instead, one-in-five looked for the cheapest policy but did not check the small print to establish what was covered.A quarter of the insured holidaymakers (23 per cent) either took out cover with a company they had used before without checking details or took the standard insurance recommended by a travel agent.

Rob Clarkson, Managing Director, Post Office Money Insurance, said: “In the coming weeks millions of people will enjoy a summer holiday in the UK – many of them with the family dog.However, far too many could be risking financial loss because they fail to protect themselves with travel insurance for a UK holiday.

“What’s more, many of those who take out insurance do not check the small print to ensure they have a good level of protection.Getting comprehensive cover is crucial because our research shows that holiday curtailment and cancellation as well as theft and losing property can cost thousands of pounds.This can be avoided by taking out a reliable and comprehensive policy for a UK trip in the same way that you would do for a holiday further afield.”

Post Office Travel Insurance has been voted top travel insurance provider in the annual British Travel Awards for the past nine years.More information about the comprehensive cover it provides can be found at or at a Post Office branch.


    Notes to Editors:

    1 Populus research for Post Office Travel Insurance (20-22 May 2016) among 2,072 UK adults aged 18 and over.Of these, 1642 are planning to take a holiday this year and 79 per cent (1,296 people) will take that holiday in the UK.

    2 The Populus research found that eight per cent – the equivalent of 1.417 million people – of those holidaying in the UK will do so for the convenience of taking the family dog.Less than half that number - 681,000/four per cent of the survey sample - are holidaying in the UK so they can watch the Euro Championships and/or the Olympic Games.

    3 Source: 2016 Pet Population Report (Statista 2016)

    4 Destinations where visits are planned by those taking holidays in the UK are:

    REGION %

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