The UK pet tourism statistics lowdown from hoo

UK pet tourism statistics

More than half of pet owners say they’ve got plans to travel with their pets, over one third say they just won’t travel without them, and over 2 million pet animals board commercial flights each year. It’s time to take pet travel seriously and understand the impact that being pet friendly can have on occupancy and profitability for hotels and other leisure accommodation.

23 million UK households (41%) have a pet, and the most popular pets are dogs. 83% of people say they feel guilty leaving their dog behind when they go on holiday, 67% will plan their breaks around their dog, and a surprisingly high 56% will opt to take their pooch away with them. 40% of owners adorably think that “the dog deserves a holiday too” and 22% claim they wouldn’t enjoy their own holiday if they left their best furry friend at home (even of those that do, 21% say they’ll be video calling their pup from their hotel). So clearly we Brits are pretty darn serious when it comes to our pets being part of our lives.

UK pet tourism statistics

90% of households consider dogs part of their family, so it isn’t too shocking to find that over 31% of owners plan overnight trips with their dogs - many up to six times a year. Overall around 37% of families now travel with their dogs, which is nearly 20% more than did in the previous decade; we’re only getting closer to our animals. 25% of women will take their dog on holiday compared to 14% of men, so pooches owned by ladies are much more likely to enjoy a getaway.

Less than 5% of owners are not planning overnight trips with their pets. Just under 28% are aiming for one or two overnight stays with their pet, while nearly 37% are planning 3-5 stays and an astonishing 31% intend to take their pet with them overnight five or six times in a year. Lucky pets!

85% of UK pet owners have said they’d much rather have a local staycation with their pets than travel abroad without them. The south-east is generally considered the most pet-friendly area for travelling, followed by the south-west and east of England. These regions are the richest in walks, vets and (most importantly) dog friendly pubs. More than 18% of owners will visit historic sights or national parks with their pets, although only 12.5% specifically want to stay in a city with a pet-friendly hotel. Unsurprisingly given the popularity of dogs, more than 42% of travellers with pets want to go somewhere with plenty of hiking (and walkies) opportunities in the fresh air, with over 15% saying that dog-friendliness is a must-have item on the beach holiday checklist. Fido presumably just isn’t as jazzed about that urban boho gallery as might be hoped, but is always game for frisbee on the surf.

UK pet tourism statistics

Even seasonal travel gets a solid look-in - if pet owners travel abroad for Christmas, more than 80% will take their dogs along with them. After all, it wouldn’t be the season without seeing Muffy in her Santa hat, would it?

From beaches to baubles and everything in between, the people of the UK continue to maintain and grow their reputation as a bunch of die-hard animal fans. As the shadow of the pandemic recedes and leisure travel plans are again being drawn up, the tourism industry both at home and abroad needs to remember that those pup-loving pounds aren’t going to be spent if the pooch in question can’t come along in person.

UK Pet Travel Statistics infographic by hoo