Last updated: 02:17 PM ET, Wed October 07 2015

Survey: British Tourists Don't Mingle With Non-Brits

Features & Advice | Josh Lew | September 08, 2015

Survey: British Tourists Don't Mingle With Non-Brits

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Part of the reason people travel abroad is to experience another culture and, perhaps, to mingle with locals and travelers from other parts of the world. A survey by one British travel booking site shows that not everyone wants to expand their horizons when they set off on an international trip.

Holiday Hypermarket, a UK-based travel retailer that specializes in international package vacations, recently asked its customers to answer survey questions about the kind of connections and friendships that they formed while abroad.

More than 3,000 people answered Hypermarket’s questionnaire, and the data that was compiled was a bit surprising.

Sticking With Their Own

Of the British tourists who took part in the survey, 66 percent said that they made friends with other British tourists who were visiting the same destination. Only 17 percent of the respondents said that they socialized with local people during their holiday. Another 17 percent claimed that they spent time with European tourists who were not from Great Britain.

Most of the connections formed with local people were with hotel or resort staff members. One of every four people surveyed claimed that they spent time socializing with people who worked in the place where they were staying.

Making Friends (But Not With Families)

One of the most interesting findings of the survey was that virtually no one at all made friends with families who were traveling with children. Only 3 percent of Hypermarket’s travelers developed friendships with people traveling with children.

These results might lead one to believe that British people aren’t making friends or socializing at all when they travel abroad. That is not the case, however. More than 80 percent of the people surveyed claimed that they had made friends during their last vacation. A surprisingly large percentage of these “holiday friendships” continued after the trip was over. Approximately half of the people surveyed claimed that they still kept in contact with their vacation acquaintances, communicating with them at least once per month.  

Taking The Survey Results With A Grain Of Salt

It is pretty easy to see these survey results and make generalized statements about British tourists being “unfriendly” or “aloof” when it comes to interacting with other nationalities. However, you have to keep in mind that Holiday Hypermarket serves a specific demographic.

The site focuses mainly on package tours and all-inclusive experiences. About half of their destinations are in Europe. Packages are available for places like Malta, Iceland, the Greek islands and the Balearics. More far-flung all-inclusive options include trips to Thailand, the Gambia, the Caribbean and the Maldives. 

Many of the resorts and hotels listed on the site cater to package tourists, and many of those tourists are probably from Great Britain. So at least some of the 66 percent of the people who didn’t socialize outside of their nationality were simply surrounded by other Britons and made friends with them almost by default.

A Specific Demographic

Also, package tours, like those offered by Holiday Hypermarket, are often more about going somewhere warm to relax than going somewhere to “broaden your horizons.” The goal of an all-inclusive trip is to get pampered and take some sun, not to seek out cultural exchange or even explore a destination beyond the spa, the beach and poolside bar.

If anything, the questionnaire offers a glimpse into the package holiday scene. If this survey had been conducted by a package tour site in the US or Australia, would the results be similar? The percentages would probably be pretty close to Holiday Hypermarket's data.


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