Factors influencing domestic tourism in the UK and abroad and the role of publicly funded domestic tourism marketing

A rapid evidence assessment

by Hui Lu, William D. Phillips, Joe Francombe, Fay Dunkerley, Charlene Rohr

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Research Questions

  1. What are the factors that influence UK residents' decisions to take domestic trips within the UK?
  2. Within that decision-making process, what is the role and impact of publicly funded domestic tourism marketing?

Domestic tourism benefits both the broader UK economy as well as stakeholders within a specific destination. Each year, the UK government provides funding to the British Tourist Authority to cover their core costs and marketing activity. At present, only a small proportion of this funding is spent on promoting domestic tourism, with the majority being spent on marketing to potential overseas visitors.

To help understand the factors that influence people's decisions to take domestic holidays, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport commissioned RAND Europe to provide evidence in this area, with a special focus on the impact of publicly funded domestic tourism marketing.

Researchers undertook a rapid evidence assessment to provide a comprehensive, systematic and critical assessment of the scope and quality of available evidence on factors influencing domestic tourism and the role of publicly funded domestic tourism marketing.

A second part of the study looked at potential research methods and data sources to address identified research gaps.

Key Findings

  • Several factors influence domestic tourism: economic factors; activities and specific destination-related attributes; demographic characteristics; environmental attitudes; weather; and transport infrastructure.
  • Published evidence is generally dated and not focused on the UK, and the influence of recent geopolitical trends like Brexit, security issues like pandemics, and new technologies such as social media and the internet have not been covered in detail.
  • There is limited evidence on the role and impact of publicly funded domestic tourism campaigns on people’s decision making.


  • Further analysis of existing data sets — probably in combination with new primary data — may help quantify factors influencing domestic travel.
  • New data sources such as data from mobile phones, social media and/or credit card transaction data may offer new ways to quantify the impact of publicly funded domestic tourism campaigns.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two


  • Chapter Three

    Evidence on key factors influencing domestic tourism

  • Chapter Four

    The influence of publicly funded marketing

  • Chapter Five

    Summary, findings and evidence gaps

  • Annex A

    Search protocol

  • Annex B

    Summary of outputs from search on factors

  • Annex C

    Summary of outputs from search on publicly funded marketing

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was produced for the UK Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) and conducted by RAND Europe.

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