A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46

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FINAL REPORT ON The Demand for Holidays in 1947


1. The scope of the information in this and previous reports

During September 1946 the Social Survey interviewed 2,863 people on the subject of their summer holidays in 1946 and their plans for their holidays in 1947. The people were selected to be representative of the civilian population of England, Scotland and Wales above the age of 14: people in different regions, in urban and rural areas, and in different occupations are represented in their proper proportions; in other respects selection for interview was at random. A specimen of the questionnaire used in the interview is given at Appendix A, and the instructions for sampling and interviewing are given at Appendix B.

The request for the survey was made by a Working Party for Catering Tourist and Holiday Services, an inter-departmental committee organised at the office of the Lord President of the Council, including representatives of the Home Office, the Foreign Office, the Scottish Office, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Food, the Ministry of Works and the Board of Trade. The Catering Wages Commission were also interested and were kept informed at all stages.

The information most urgently needed by the Working Party was extracted and presented in a first report issued in November 1946. Developments during the next few months led to the establishment of a Home Holidays Division at the Board of Trade, which inherited the Working Party’s concern with this subject. A supplementary report was prepared at their request in August 1947.

There was not enough time for all the material to be completely checked before the first report was issued, and the conclusions given there were expressed tentatively. Before the supplementary report was produced the questionnaires were thoroughly checked, and a fresh set of Hollerith Cards was made from which the new tabulations were prepared. But the results thus obtained supplement and confirm those from the first report. The only amendments necessary were found to be in one conclusion and in details in two of the tables. The two reports are combined here in a form which, it is hoped, will be more suitable for a final record of this inquiry.

It might be convenient, if it were possible, to begin with an account of people’s normal holiday arrangements and to proceed to examine in what ways these two years appear to be exceptional. But normal standards could not be provided by any year since 1939; and although some questions were asked about holiday arrangements “before the war”, the information obtained was found to be unusable. Not enough confidence can be placed in the accuracy of informants’ statements, even when definite, concerning a period so remote; and their representativeness cannot be guaranteed, for too many changes may have taken place in informants’ status, etc. Moreover the normal arrangements, if they could be discovered, might not prove to be as permanently or generally desirable as normal health, for instance, is. The data obtained about 1946 and 1947 reveal that in many respects people’s arrangements are unlikely to change greatly from year to year, but they also show that many of the discomforts of holidays arise because people are unable to vary their arrangements as widely as they would like.

I have not been able to prepare this report without presenting some comparisons between what people said they did in 1946 and what they said they were going to do in 1947. For these I must make a general apology. Statements of the two kinds are not strictly comparable, for the errors to which they are exposed differ. Memories may err as well as desires, but they are likely to err to a different extent and possibly in different ways. People’s stated plans for 1947 would be more strictly comparable with the plans for 1946 they might have expressed in the autumn of 1945; and the summer holidays they described with those they might have described in the autumn of 1947. A different design of inquiry might thus have yielded results of greater scientific merit. I am glad to be able to report that a second survey, covering what people actually did in 1947 and what they intended to do in 1948 was requested by the British Tourist and Holidays Board (a body established on the recommendations of the Working Party), and that the interviewing was done during February 1948. The results of this inquiry should make more precise comparisons possible, and should shed light on the reliability of people’s stated intentions on their holiday plans.

CHAPTER 1 - The Demand for Holidays

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2. The total demand for holidays in 1946 and 1947

50 per cent of the total sample went away for a holiday in 1946; 8 per cent had day trips only, and 42 per cent stayed at home.

To the question, “Will you go away for a summer holiday in 1947?” 452 people gave answers recorded as “Don’t know”. The answers of the remaining 2,411 are shown in Table 1, together with their answers to the question, “Did you go away for a summer holiday in 1946?”

Numbers of people whose intentions are definite 1947
1946 Will go away Day trips only Will not go away TOTAL
Did go away 1249 3 33 1285
Day trips only 121 572 45 9 175 1126
Did not go 451 11 489 951
TOTAL 1821 59 531 2411

These figures reveal a close association between what people did in 1946 and what they expected to do in 1947. 97 per cent of those who went away on holiday in 1946 expected to do so again in the following year. On the other hand 51 per cent of those who did not go away in 1946 hoped to do so in 1947. The number of people who wanted a holiday in 1947 is thus for larger than the number who had one in 1946.

In view of this evident association, the probable plans of the undecided people may be estimated from what they did in 1946, thus:

Estimate of probable plans of undecided people 1947
1946 Will go away Day trips only Will not go away TOTAL
Did go away 146 0 4 150
Day trips only 44 17 3 64
Did not go 113 3 122 238
TOTAL 303 20 129 452

Information from Tables 1 and 2 is amalgamated in Table 3 to show the intended or probable plans of everyone interviewed:


Intended or probable plans of the sample interviewed

State of mind at time of interview Number Per cent
Holiday already arranged 118 4.2
Holiday wanted but not arranged 1703 59.4
Undecided, but will probably want holiday 303 10.5
Total likely to try to get away for a holiday in 1947 2124 74.1
Total likely to be satisfied with day trips from home 79 2.8
Total unlikely to want a holiday 660 23.1
GRAND TOTAL 2863 100.0

4 per cent had made their arrangements at the time of interview; another 70 per cent remained likely to try to make some arrangements between then and the summer of 1947 for a holiday away from home. 3 per cent were likely to be satisfied with day trips from home and 23 per cent to be content without a holiday. The total number likely to try to get away in 1947 is 48 per cent greater than the total number who went away in 1946.

This finding provides no grounds for supposing that 48 per cent more people actually went away on holiday in 1947 than did in 1946; it is equally reconcilable with any other percentage increase in actual numbers, except a larger one (no reliable statistics are obtainable concerning the actual increase but such information as is available suggests that it was considerably smaller). The evidence given in the next section shows that the unsatisfied demand is an effective one, backed by capacity to pay. The actual effect on people’s holiday arrangements in 1947 should be revealed by the survey for the years 1947 and 1948.

3. The total demand for holidays (Money available for expenditure).

For considering whether this excess demand for holidays is an effective one, the relevant questions on the schedule are numbers 21 and 22. Detailed tabulations of the answers are given in tables 1 and 2 of Appendix C. The range shown in the total amount of money different people are prepared to pay may be of interest.

950 people stated the total amount they spent in 1946. The average is £22. 6s. 0d. 701 of these people also stated how much they were prepared to pay in 1947. The average per person is £26. 13s. 6d. Another 346 people, who did not take a holiday in 1946, stated how much they were prepared to pay in 1947. The average is £26. 3s. 0d. As the last two averages are very closely similar, there is no evidence that people who did not take a holiday in 1946, but who intended a holiday in 1947 had a lower capacity to pay than people who did take a holiday in 1946.

For all people who were intending to take a holiday in 1947, the average per person is £26. 10s. 0d. This is an increase of 18.8 per cent on the average for 1946. As it has already been shown that 48 per cent more people were expected to try to obtain a holiday in 1947, and as on the average each person was prepared to spend 18.8 per cent more, the amount of money available for expenditure on holidays in 1947 is estimated as 76 per cent greater than the amount actually spent on holidays in 1946.

Again, there is no information available for verifying this finding. It does not provide grounds for expecting an increase of 76 per cent in the amount actually spent. Events occuring after the survey was made, particularly the fuel crisis at the beginning of 1947, may also have diminished the amount available. Many people are likely to finance their holidays from the money they save during the winter months; this may have been reduced by temporary or partial losses of employment during the crisis.

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4. Demands in different sections of the community

A complete analysis was not made of all the data available concerning differences of this kind, but the data in this section provide an outline which may be sufficient for general purposes.

Of the informants in different occupations, very different proportions expected to have a holiday in 1947. Table 4 shows the differences.


Per cent of people in a given occupation who expect to have a holiday in 1947.

Occupation Number in the Occupation Per cent expecting a holiday
Agriculture 96 38
Mining 66 83
Factory 367 77
Building, Transport, Public Utilities 232 79
Clerical 146 90
Distributive 164 73
Miscellaneous 266 73
Professional 126 90
Retired 261 35
Housewife 1136 56

Note: People whose intentions are indefinite have not been counted among those expecting a holiday. The data were obtained from an occupational break-down of answers to Qn. 10 b.

People in professional and clerical occupations more often expect to have a holiday than any others; but it is interesting to note that mining and factory workers come next. Interviewers found a few people in the sample who had retired to places, e.g. on the South coast, which they felt they did not need to leave to take a holiday, but opinions of this kind are not common enough to account for the low proportion of retired people who expect to take a holiday, and even when they are expressed they may be suspected of concealing other reasons - relatively large numbers of retired and unoccupied people are in the lower economic groups.

Naturally people’s ability to take a holiday depends to a considerable extent on the amount of their income. Table 5 shows what proportion of the people in each economic group did not take a holiday in 1946. But even in the lowest economic group there are some people who contrived to go away.


Per cent of people in a given economic group who did not take a holiday in 1946

Basic wage rate of chief wage earner Total number in group Per cent who did not take a holiday
Up to £3 392 74
£3 - £4 419 62
£4 - £5.10s. 1147 48
£5.10s. - £10 701 38
£10 and over 180 26
No answer 21 48
















Considerable differences were also found between the different regions. They are given in Table 6. The exact extent of the regions is exhibited in the map. The remaining data do not seem to shed much light on the causes of these regional differences.


Per cent of people living in a given region who had a holiday in 1946

Region Total number interviewed in that region Per cent who had a holiday
Scotland 324 52
Northern 171 41
North Eastern 238 61
North Western 416 51
North Midlands 215 54
Eastern 176 51
Midlands 248 46
Wales 165 38
London 417 48
South Eastern 150 51
Southern 154 39
South Western 186 33

The proportions of people of different ages who went away in 1946 were found to be as shown in Table 7.


Per cent of people in a given age group who went away on holiday in 1946.

Age group Total number in group Per cent who went away
15 - 19 160 61
20 - 24 195 65
25 - 29 260 55
30 - 34 318 53
35 - 39 324 51
40 - 44 342 58
45 - 49 332 51
50 - 54 267 49
55 or over 642 35

The percentage declines as age increases. The figure for people aged 55 or over tallies with the figure for retired and unoccupied people given in Table 4.

Similar data concerning holidays in 1946 show that approximately the same proportion of people in both sexes had a holiday of some kind. This is true for every age group taken separately as well as for all ages taken together.

The total amount of money informants are prepared to spend on their holidays, (for themselves if alone, or for their dependants also, if they take them) naturally varies with the basic wage rate of the chief wage earner in the family. Table 8 shows the average amount spent by people in each economic group on their holidays in 1946, together with the maximum and minimum. (People who did not take a holiday, and people who did not state how much they spent are excluded). Some people in every group contrive to take a holiday away at very little or no expense to themselves; but conspicuous differences appear in the average and maximum figures.


Amounts spent by people in different economic groups on individual or family holidays in 1946.

Economic Group Number giving the information Amount spent
Average Maximum Minimum
Up to £3 69 £9 4s. £37 £0
£3 - £4 124 £13 0s. £45 £1
£4 - £5. 10s. 443 £16 8s. £100 £1
£5. 10s. - £10 329 £23 13s. £98 £0
£10 or over 81 £45 9s. £150 £1
No answer 6 £16 17s. £28 £2

Table 5 and. Table 8 cast a useful side-light on people who do not provide information on their basic wage rates. Amongst the “No answer” group, the proportion going on holiday and the average amount spent are approximately the same as amongst the middle economic group. These facts can be used to infer what is the most probable average basic wage rate among people in the “no answer” group; most probably it is not exceptionally high or low.

CHAPTER 2 - The limits of the holiday season

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5. The extent of the holiday season

The question on the schedule which covers this point is No. 6. Of the 1,821 people who intend to take a holiday in 1947, 43 gave invalid answers to the part of this question concerning preference.

Table 9 is an analysis of the answers of the remaining 1,778.

Proportion of people intending to take a holiday in 1947 who prefer particular months during the holiday season
Month Prefer Per cent Don’t mind Dislike Index of popularity
April .7 45.7 53.6 - .53
May 3.9 59.0 37.1 - .33
June 28.3 64.9 6.8 .22
July 41.1 54.5 4.4 .37
August 35.1 50.0 14.9 .20
September 19.5 66.8 13.7 .06
October 1.6 43.1 55.3 - .54

The index of popularity shown in the last column, is the average obtained for each month when the preferences expressed are weighted + 1 and the dislikes - 1. If any month were preferred by everyone, its index of popularity would be + 1; conversely, if disliked by everyone, its index would be - 1.

Of the same 1,821 people, 11 gave invalid answers to the part of question 6 concerning opportunity to take a holiday in any given month. Table 10 shows the per cent of the remainder who can manage or may be allowed to take a holiday during the month shown.



People’s preferences compared with their opportunities.

NOTE: The two vertical scales have been chosen to provide curves of approximately the same height, but both are on the same horizontal scale. Thus the breadth of the area beneath the curves may be compared but not its height.


Per cent of people intending to take a holiday in 1947 who may obtain leave during a particular month

Month Per cent who may manage Per cent who cannot manage
April 60.2 39.8
May 60.6 39.4
June 62.2 37.8
July 78.0 22.0
August 78.3 21.7
September 65.1 34.9
October 60.8 39.2

It would be injudicious to attach much significance to the absolute size of these percentages. Among those who may manage are those who, at the time of interview, were not aware of any circumstance which would prevent them taking a holiday during the month shown. But in some cases at least, it was known that circumstances would arise later that would limit their freedom of choice. Many firms hold ballots to decide when they shall close down for the summer holiday. Until the ballot is held, the individual employee does not know in which month he will be free to take his holiday. Every such employee has been included among those who may be able to manage any month. Other firms use a rota system to decide who may take his holiday when. Employees affected by this system are also shown as able to manage any month unless the rota has already been fixed. Uncertainty has thus been confounded with freedom.

The final column is the more important. It shows, for instance, that 39.8 per cent of the people who wish to take a holiday in 1947 knew as early as in September 1946 that they would not be free to take it in the following April.

Graph 1 relates the figures in Table 9 to those in Table 10. It shows that the range of months during which people would enjoy taking a summer holiday is wider than the range during which they are free to take one. It seems safe to conclude that the public would take full advantage of measures enabling the holiday season to begin a month earlier and continue a fortnight later. If circumstances permitted, Whitsun might rival August Bank Holiday as a high holiday.

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6. The predominant importance of occupations in limiting people’s choice of time for holidays

What are these circumstances? Some were given in answer to the last part of question 6 - an open question, to which people replied in their own words. A random sample of 250 schedules was analysed to find which are the main classes of reason. A detailed list of the answers recorded in this sample is given in Appendix D under the headings which were found to provide a suitable classification. Table 11 provides a summary.

Analysis of 250 schedules providing information on the reasons why some people cannot manage to take a holiday in certain months
TABLE 7 A Number
a. May be able to manage any month 153
b. Cannot manage any month 23
c. May be able to manage some months but cannot manage all 74
TABLE 11 (cont’d)
Analysis of 250 schedules providing information on the reasons why some people cannot manage to take a holiday in certain months
TABLE 7 B Number
Details of those who may be able to manage some months but cannot manage all:
1. Dependent on firm employing informant 34
2. Dependent on firm employing some other member of the family 23
3. Business ties 6
4. Dependent on children’s holiday 7
5. Dependent on another member of the family for reasons other than employment 1
6. Miscellaneous 3

Conditions of employment, which directly affect the employer as well as the employee, and indirectly affect many others through family ties, form the first three classes of reasons and account for 63 of the 74 reasons given. School holidays account for another 8 (one of the miscellaneous answers refers to them).

Some caution may be needed in drawing conclusions from these figures. Interviewers have been allowed to record one reason only when that was a sufficient reason. There is thus no record of subsidiary reasons; and if, of the circumstances restricting people’s freedom to decide when to take their holiday, one only is eliminated, another, which has received less mention, may take its place and provide a similar restriction. If the possibility of removing restrictions is considered, all the circumstances should be taken into account. In particular, the restrictive effect of school holidays may be expected to rise in importance if the restrictive effect of conditions of employment is reduced. The large proportion of holiday-makers who go away in family parties warrants this expectation.

Further evidence of the extent to which people’s holiday arrangements depend on their occupations is provided by Table 12.


Per cent of people in a given occupation who can manage to take their holiday in a given month.

Occupation No. in the occupation Per cent who can manage Range
April May June July Aug. Sept. Oct.
Agriculture 96 26 27 23 20 21 24 28 8
Mining 66 17 17 17 55 67 18 15 52
Factory 367 21 22 24 56 48 23 21 35
Building Transport etc 232 50 49 53 59 56 54 49 10
Clerical 146 71 71 71 77 75 71 71 6
Distributive 164 52 53 51 56 57 55 52 6
Miscellaneous 266 55 57 56 60 59 58 58 5
Professional 126 56 56 57 74 81 66 56 25
Retired & Unoccupied 261 31 30 31 33 33 32 30 3
Housewife 1136 35 35 36 44 46 39 35 11

The evidence here is of two kinds: firstly in the size of the seasonal variations in some occupations, of which mining is the most conspicuous. Two-thirds of the miners interviewed were able to take their holidays in August; some can manage July; only about one in six can manage any other month. The range, from 67 per cent in August to 15 per cent in October, is one of 52 per cent. Factory work has the next highest range; and next it may seem surprising to find Professional occupations.

The second kind of evidence is in the differences between the occupations. Whereas seasonal fluctuations are marked in some occupations, in others, e.g. clerical and distributive, they are quite inconspicuous. Whereas most occupations have their peak seasons in July and August, in mining there is a clearly marked difference between these two months. And the season most convenient for other occupations is least convenient for agriculture. Thus each occupation has its characteristic effect on people’s arrangements.

7. Family solidarity as a restricting influence on the holiday season.

Contrasted with these marked differences between occupations is the remarkable similarity revealed by Table 13 in the pattern of variation at different ages.


Per cent of people of a given age who can manage to take their holiday in a given month.

Age Group No. of informants of that age Per cent who can manage Average for all months
April May June July August Sept. Oct.
15-19 160 38 41 39 51 52 41 36 43
20-24 195 45 46 47 59 60 48 48 50
25-29 260 46 45 47 59 59 47 47 50
30-34 318 43 42 45 54 57 46 42 47
35-39 324 41 41 42 57 55 45 42 46
40-44 342 41 40 41 56 56 46 39 46
45-49 332 39 41 42 51 54 45 42 45
50-54 267 40 40 40 49 48 42 39 43
Over 54 664 28 29 30 33 32 30 29 30

Although younger people are generally more free to take a holiday than older people (as the differences in the averages show) the rise after June and drop after August is proportionally similar at all ages. The probability of such a similarity being found by chance is less than one in a million. * Any cause which limits the period when one member of a family can manage to take a holiday transmits its effects to other members of the family. Consequently older people are not wholly free to take their holidays independently of younger people, or vice versa ; they are under some obligation to take them at the same time. The resulting restrictions are exhibited in this table.

General information on the extent to which people take their holidays in family parties, the composition of family parties, etc., is given in Chapter 3, section 9.

8. The influence of school term times

Other results confirm the evidence in Table 11 that school term times have only a relatively slight limiting effect on the extent of the holiday season.

[1] From the statistical point of view this table is unusual. The agreement between the observations and the expectations on a null hypothesis is too close to be attributable to chance. Chi-squared equals 11.15 for 48 degrees of freedom.

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710 (25 per cent) of the people interviewed were in charge of school children. 35 per cent of them were not intending to take a holiday in 1947, and the questions

Qn. 9a: Do you know that schools allow children to take a fortnight’s leave during term to go with their parents on holiday? and

Qn. 9c: Do you intend taking advantage of this offer? If no, why not?

do not really apply to them. Of the remaining 461

32 per cent answered yes to Qn. 9c

14 per cent said “Don’t know” or gave no answer

54 per cent said, No.

There were only two main reasons for not wishing to take advantage of the offer: in 53 per cent of these cases there was no need, as the children were getting their holidays in the school holiday time; in 46 per cent, the parents definitely did not wish their children to miss schooling. It is these parents, i.e., 16 per cent of those in charge of school children, or 6 per cent of all prospective holiday-makers, on whom the limitations imposed by the school holidays can thus be shown to have a decisive effect. But, as has already been explained, the relaxation of other restrictions might increase this percentage.

Slightly less than half of the people in charge of school children (48 per cent) knew, before being told by the interviewer, that children are allowed a fortnight’s leave. The survey did not go into the question whether this was due to bad publicity or lack of interest.

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9. The possible influence of holiday attractions

If a holiday resort organises a special programme of attractions for a particular season, it is only to be expected that holiday makers who might perhaps have visited it earlier or later will prefer to do so during the season. In extreme cases whole business premises close down for the occasion. No doubt the majority of their employees approve, but the minority who by exercising their preference for a different period might have relieved the pressure of demand at the height of the season, find themselves compelled to conform.

No influences of this kind were mentioned in answer to question 6; they may possibly affect informants indirectly through their occupations. But they are one of the probable explanations of the data in Table 14.


Per cent of people living in a given region who can manage to take their holiday in a given month .

Region No. living in the region Per cent who can manage Range
April May June July Aug. Sept. Oct.
Scotland 324 30 30 34 50 37 31 29 21
Northern 171 37 36 36 47 49 39 37 13
North Eastern 238 51 51 52 61 67 53 51 16
North Western 416 32 33 35 57 40 36 33 25
North Midlands 215 40 40 42 50 55 45 39 16
Eastern 176 55 55 53 53 61 57 56 8
Midlands 248 28 27 31 44 44 31 27 17
Wales 165 31 30 30 33 50 35 30 20
London 417 53 54 54 59 62 55 53 9
South Eastern 150 45 45 38 41 49 49 43 11
Southern 154 22 22 24 32 36 23 25 14
South Western 186 38 40 39 44 53 47 40 15

Regions differ less widely in range than occupations. The most interesting point to notice is that in Scotland and the North West, the peak of the holiday season is reached in July, while in Wales August is the peak. All three regions concentrate their seasons into one month. In the remaining regions the season is more wide-spread. These variations are demonstrably significant by statistical tests.

The data for Wales are no doubt partly a reflection of the data for mining. But the data for Scotland almost certainly reflect the custom among the main Scottish towns, e.g. Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee and Perth, of holding their Fair Weeks in July.


Averages for all months cannot be usefully derived from Table 12 or 14. For instance, the averages for Agriculture and Mining are nearly the same, but conditions in these two occupations are far from similar. Although in most months of the year miners are not free, there is one month in which a large majority of them can take a holiday, whereas no summer month is convenient for many agricultural workers. Only where the form of the seasonal variation remains approximately the same (as in Table 13) can the differences between the averages be interpreted unequivocally.

CHAPTER 3 - Customary Holiday Arrangements

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10. Family Parties

Of the 1,435 people who went away in 1946, 73 per cent went in family parties. Of the 1,821 who intend to go away in 1947, 91 (5%) did not state whether they would go in a family party or not. Of the remaining 1,730, 77 per cent intend to go in a family party.

In Table 15 the intentions of these 1,730 people are compared with their arrangements in 1946.

Arrangements in 1946 of people who have stated what type of holiday they intend to take in 1947
1946 1947
Intend to go
In a family party Not in a family party TOTAL
Went in a family party 883 11 894
Went but not in a family party 17 271 288
Total who went 900 282 1182
Did not go 428 120 548
TOTAL 1328 402 1730

Of the 894 who went in a family party in 1946, 99 per cent want to go in a family party in 1947. Of the 288 who went by themselves or not in a family party in 1946, 94 per cent want to do the same in 1947. People’s preferences in this respect evidently only change gradually: this finding simply demonstrates the stability of family structure.

In many of these cases the composition of the family party is unknown. The questions:

How many other people are there in your household?

Which of them go with you?

Which take a holiday separately?

Which do not take any summer holiday?

were put, to avoid duplication, only to heads of families. Information was thus obtained about 971 families including one or more children. A convenient way of exhibiting the results is to list them by the number of children in the family (Table 16). The data concern holidays in 1946.


Per cent of families, with a given number of children, which took a holiday in 1946

Number of children Number of families Per cent of the families in which
all members had a holiday together some did, some did not have a holiday No one had a holiday
1 199 48 0 52
2 308 40 3 57
3 113 28 3 69
4 or more 51 16 8 76

Among the whole sample (c.f. Table l) 53 per cent had a holiday in 1946. The more children there are in the family the more likely is it that no one will take a holiday.

Young women go in family parties more often than men of the same age; elderly women less often. This is shown by the figures in Table 17. On the whole, women take their holidays in family parties less often than men.


The number of people of a given age and sex who go in family parties, expressed as a percentage of the total number of that age and sex who go away (data for 1946)

Age Sex Both sexes together
Male Female No. who go away Per cent going in family party
No. who go away Per cent going in family party No. who go away Per cent going in family party
15-19 36 28 61 39 97 35
20-24 39 38 87 37 126 37
25-29 54 65 89 72 143 69
30-34 66 77 102 83 168 81
35-39 68 91 96 84 164 87
40-44 89 90 109 81 198 85
45-49 79 95 92 80 171 87
50-54 50 86 80 68 130 75
55 over 92 86 131 63 223 72
No answer 5 12 17
All ages 578 78 859 69 1437 73
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11. Movements of the population during the summer holiday

Appendix C, Table 3 is an analysis of the number of people resident in each region. After excluding those who were not going on holiday, those who gave no answer, or didn’t know, and those who were going as tourists or abroad, it shows how many residents in any given region were intending to take their 1947 holiday in their own or in any other region.

These data can be summarised in several ways. Table 17a shows the number expecting to take a holiday in their own region, the number expecting to leave it, the number expecting to come to it, and the consequent net gain or loss, expressed as percentages of the number of residents interviewed in that region.

Region Per Cent
Stopping Leaving Coming Net gain or loss -
Scotland 38.0 14.5 9.0 -5.5
Northern 12.9 26.9 32.7 6.1
North Eastern 10.1 50.0 23.5 -26.5
North Western 26.4 24.8 34.6 9.8
North Midlands 14.4 40.0 10.7 -29.3
Eastern 20.5 30.1 41.5 11.4
Midlands 3.6 42.3 9.3 -33.0
Wales 14.5 23.0 47.9 24.9
London .2 47.7 17.5 -30.2
South East 24.0 26.7 76.7 50.0
South 13.0 26.0 55.2 29.2
South West 17.7 15.6 64.0 48.4

The figures in the final column do not show, for instance, that the population of the South East increases by 50 per cent during the summer months, because, of this total turn-over of visitors, some have returned before others arrive. But (assuming that the average length of the holiday spent in each region is approximately the same) they should give a fair representation of the size of the catering and accommodation problem in each region.

The main movements revealed are

  1. (a) centrifugal, e.g. away from London and the Midlands

  2. (b) southwards.

Table 18 analyses similar data for 1946. It shows what per cent of the holiday-makers from each region took their holiday in the same region, what per cent went to an adjoining region, what per cent went further afield, but not abroad, and what per cent abroad.

Region Per cent going on holiday in
Own region Adjoining region Further region Abroad
Scotland 72 10 15 3
Northern 32 39 29 -
North Eastern 17 66 17 -
North Western 52 31 15 2
North Midlands 26 43 30 1
Eastern 41 34 22 3
Midlands 8 60 29 3
Wales 39 29 30 2
London 1 67 28 4
South East 47 20 32 1
South 33 40 25 2
South Western 53 28 16 3

Differences in the area the various regions enclose, their population, the extent of their sea coast, and in the number, extent, etc., of the other regions which adjoin them, make direct comparison between the regions meaningless. But since there are twelve regions in all, the per cent going on holiday in their own region would not exceed 8 on an average (even assuming that no one went abroad), unless people generally preferred their own region to any other. Similarly since the regions adjoining any particular region are fewer than the regions further away, the per cent of people taking their holiday in an adjoining region would not tend to exceed the per cent taking their holiday further away unless people generally preferred the nearer regions. This table thus exhibits the fact that as a rule people do not like to travel far but prefer to take their holidays near home.

But although these general tendencies are clearly exhibited, the table given in the Appendix shows that almost every region exports some holiday makers to, and imports some from almost every other region.

The figures in the first column of Table 17a may be compared with those in the same column of Table 18. In every case the percentages are much higher for 1946 than for 1947 - usually twice as high or more. Far fewer holiday-makers expect to take holidays in their own regions in 1947 than did in fact do so in 1946. Moreover although the number of people who hope to go abroad in 1947 is not large relatively to the whole sample, it is nearly three times the number who went in 1946. Opportunities may actually be greater in 1947, but it seems likely that these expectations express a “vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself.” They can, however, be accepted as evidence that people are not wholly averse to travelling greater distances than they did in 1946.

12. Time spent on travel.

Informants who had taken a holiday in 1946 were asked:

Qn. 15: Was it a long journey?

Qn. 16: How many hours was it from door to door?

The opinion question - was it long? - was deliberately asked before the factual question both because it is easier to answer and leads naturally to the next, and because if the informants had been obliged to recall how many hours the journey had taken before being asked whether it was long they would not be likely to express their opinion so freely, but would consider that the fact should be decisive. But it was precisely in order to find out how much time the informants consider “long” that the questions were asked. Tabulating the answers to both questions (c.f. Table 19) we find that the number of hours spent in travel

Per cent considering a journey of a given length “long” or not
Length of Journey Number making such a journey Per cent describing it as
Long Not long Don’t know or No answer
1 hour 148 3 95 2
2 hour 248 4 94 2
3 hour 206 16 83 1
4 hour 160 32 66 2
5 hour 125 53 45 2
6 hour 102 70 27 3
7 - 9 hours 195 85 14 1
10 - 12 hours 99 94 6 0
Over 12 hours 33 97 3 0

ranged up to 48, and averaged 4 hours 50 minutes. ‘Long’ journeys spread over the whole range from 1 to 48 hours. As the length of journey increases the per cent describing it as long rises and the per cent describing it as short falls: equilibrium is reached at just under 5 hours, i.e., almost exactly at the average length of journey.

The largest number of hours described as “not long” is 16. From the wide variation in the range of “long” and “not long” journeys it is evident that people do not form their opinions simply from the number of hours they spend in travelling, but from other considerations as well - such as, perhaps, the relationship between the time spent and distance travelled

13. Means of Travel

Answers to Qn. 14: How did you get there (in 1946)? were obtained from 1429 informants. Only the main means of travel were recorded: e.g. travellers going part of the way by train and part by boat would be recorded as going by whichever means served them for the greater part of their journey. The breakdown of answers is as follows:

Train 65 per cent
Car 15 per cent
Coach or bus 14 per cent
Boat 4 per cent
Other Means 2 per cent

14. The day chosen for the journey

Only 20 people who were expecting a holiday in 1947 gave no answer to the questions

Qn. 19b. Can you choose for yourself, or are there some days when you cannot start your holiday? and

Qn. 19c. What prevents you leaving on these days?

Answers were received from just over 1800 people. As Table 20 shows, they exhibit the familiar fact that travel is most convenient at the week-end, particularly on Saturday.


Per cent of all people going away for a holiday in 1947 who, for any given reason, are unable to travel on any given day of the week

Reasons for being unable to manage: Day of the week
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
1. Dependent on firm employing informant 26.0 28.1 28.2 28.3 20.8 4.1 12.6
2. Dependent on firm employing another member of the family 12.5 13.2 13.3 13.2 10.4 1.9 5.6
3. Have to book from/to a particular day 2.6 2.7 2.7 2.7 2.2 .2 1.9
4. Miscellaneous 1.6 1.6 1.6 1.5 1.2 1.1 1.3
5. Bad transport or none .2 .2 .2 .2 .2 .2 1.2
TOTAL unable to manage (per cent) 42.9 45.8 46.0 45.9 34.8 7.5 22.6

The reasons most commonly given refer to conditions of the informants’ employment: the firm’s holiday starts at the week-end - travelling on any other day would shorten the holiday, etc. Next to these in frequency are similar reasons affecting some other member of the informant’s family. These reasons are sufficiently common to establish a custom of reserving holiday accommodation from Saturday to Saturday, and may thus underlie the reason given by other informants that they have to travel when their accommodation becomes available.

This evidence is thus a further corroboration of the evidence in Chapter 2, section 6 (The predominant importance of occupations in limiting people’s choice of time for holidays).

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15. Length of holiday

1397 people stated how long their holidays lasted in 1946 and 1130 gave the corresponding information for 1947. The average is almost exactly the same: 10.4 days in 1946 and 10.8 in 1947.

People in different occupations vary considerably in the average number of days they spend on holiday. Table 21 gives the details.


Average number of days spent on holiday by people in different occupations

Occupation Total so occupied who stated how many days they spent on holiday Average number of days per person
Agriculture 24 7.4
Mining 32 7.8
Factory 204 8.7
Building, Transport etc. 114 9.0
Clerical 109 10.8
Distributive 95 9.3
Miscellaneous 135 8.7
Professional 97 13.2
Retired 87 15.3
Housewife 500 10.8

Some details about the range of variation are of interest. The number of days reported spent on holiday varies from 2 to 63. 75 per cent of the people report holidays extending for 7 or an exact multiple of 7 days. The possibility that this only reflects informants’ inability to recall an exact number of days can be excluded because although 23 informants report holidays of 28 days, only 6 report 30 or 31 days - i.e., they do not say “a month” when they mean “four weeks.”

Table 22 summarises the distribution.


Number and per cent of people who went away for a holiday of a given length in 1946

Length Number Per cent
Less than 7 days 100 7
7 days 628 45
Between 7 and 14 days 195 14
14 days 365 26
Between 14 and 21 days 31 2
21 days 32 2
Between 21 and 28 days 9 1
28 days 23 2
Over 28 days 14 1
TOTAL 1397 100
No answer: 40

The total variance in days is 42538.76; 11 per cent of this total (statistically a highly significant amount) is attributable to differences between the occupational groups.

It seems fair to conclude that it reflects restrictions imposed by the conditions under which people are employed or reserve their accommodation (c.f. previous sections).

Marked differences are also observable in the amount of variation between different people in the same occupation group. The variation amongst retired and unoccupied people, for instance, is relatively large. A full-scale statistical analysis of those differences was not considered necessary.

It is interesting to find that the retired and unoccupied, amongst whom fewest people are able to take a holiday, is the group with the highest average number of days holiday per person.

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16. The type of resort favoured

Of the 1,821 people who intended to take a holiday in 1947 1,578 stated whether they have arranged or are looking for accommodation at the seaside, in the country or in a town. The balance of 243 people include those who were undecided or gave no answer, or who intend to go on tour. 1,390 of the 1,435 people who took a holiday in 1946 gave the corresponding information. Table 23 shows the proportions gravitating towards each type of resort in each year.

Proportions preferring each type of resort
Per cent favouring Per cent in each year
1946 (out of 1390 people) 1947 (out of 1578 people)
Seaside 62.5 72.9
Country 17.8 14.0
Town 19.7 13.1
TOTAL 100.0 100.0

Table 24 gives details concerning the 1,066 people who have stated both what they had in 1946 and what they want in 1947:

Extent and direction of change desired in type of resort
Wanted, 1947
Had, 1946 Seaside Country Town Total
Seaside 642 28 22 692
Country 69 110 8 187
Town 77 8 102 187
TOTAL 788 146 132 1066

93 per cent of those who went to the seaside in 1946 prefer the seaside for 1947; 59 per cent of those who went to the country prefer the country again; and 55 per cent who went to towns prefer towns. In all 80 per cent wanted to go in 1947 to the type of resort they visited in 1946. Country and town holidays are not universally regarded as second best. On the other hand there are large minorities among those who had country or town holidays in 1946 who want seaside holidays in 1947 - 37 per cent and 41 per cent respectively. There can be no doubt that increased accommodation would be most welcome at the seaside.

Most people who go to the seaside prefer a large resort. Table 25 gives the relevant figures. Data for 1947 agree with those for 1946.


Percentage of people (who took a holiday in 1946) who preferred large or small resorts

Type of resort Number of people Per cent desiring
Large resort Small resort
Seaside 861 65 35
Country 246 8 92
Town 272 80 20
All types combined 1379 55 45

The figures for Town and Country are less interesting because they are not made in exact terms. The distinction between a large country resort and a small town is not likely to be the same in the mind of every informant.

This association between type and size of resort invites speculative consideration. The greatest pressure of demand is for large seaside resorts; but some part of the attractiveness of such resorts is due to their size - and presumably to what this implies in the way of lidos, promenades, fair-grounds, bandstands, illuminations, theatres, cinemas, dance halls, shops, etc. It is thus not beyond the range of possibility that holiday resorts in the countryside providing similar attractions (like some continental spas) might succeed in drawing holiday makers away from the seaside. Would enough people be attracted away from the seaside if entertainments of the kind found at large seaside resorts were provided in the country, to make such provisions commercially sound?

The type of resort desired varies with the region to which people wish to go, as Table 26 shows. Although some of the percentages are based on small numbers, statistical tests show that the differences are too great to be ignored. Some are of a trivial nature - for instance no one who wishes to go to the seaside goes to London or the Midlands. But some deserve more careful consideration, e.g. the types favoured by people intending to go to Scotland, or abroad.


Type of resort favoured in different regions: an analysis of the total number of people desiring a holiday in a given region, who specify what type of resort they want (Data for 1947)

Region Number of people Per cent desiring
Seaside Country Town
Scotland 58 40 44 16
Northern 40 85 5 10
North Eastern 42 57 12 31
North Western 171 84 8 8
North Midlands 27 70 19 11
Eastern 67 84 6 10
Midlands 12 - 42 58
Wales 69 69 22 9
London 35 - - 100
South Eastern 80 71 18 11
Southern 70 77 13 10
South Western 80 83 9 8
Abroad 86 42 12 36
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17. The types of accommodation in demand

1,433 people stated what type of accommodation they had in 1946 and 1,737 what type they want in 1947. Table 27 shows the percentage who had accommodation of a given type in 1946 and the percentage requiring accommodation of that type in 1947. It also gives the differential change in demand, i.e. the ratio of the latter percentage to the former, expressed as a percentage. *

The demand for accommodation of different types
Per cent of holiday-makers
Type of Accommodation a. Who had this type in 1946 (out of 1433) b. Who want this type in 1947 (out of 1737) Differential change in demand (%)
+ -
Licensed Hotel 8.2 11.0 33
Board Residence 23.7 29.6 25
Paying Guest 11.2 12.0 7
Bed and Breakfast 5.5 4.3 21
Furnished Apartments (with service) 5.4 6.3 16
Furnished Apartments (no service) 4.9 4.7 3
Camping out 2.0 1.7 15
Youth Hostel .6 .6 13
Non-paying Guest 32.7 19.4 41
Holiday Camp (Commercial type) 3.0 6.2 105
Holiday Camp (Non-Commercial type) .8 1.0 1
School, Scout etc. camp .4 .5 24
Others 1.6 2.6 61

Explanation : ‘Licensed Hotel’, ‘Board Residence’ and ‘Paying Guest’ classify establishments of different sizes, from large hotels to farm-houses, which provide full board and lodging. ‘Licensed’ means licensed for the sale of alcohol. ‘Paying Guest’ describes anyone paying for full board and lodging in accommodation diverted from its normal use, e.g. eating with the family, sleeping in the spare room or using the front parlour. ‘Bed and Breakfast’ includes any accommodation where some but not all of the daily meals are provided.

‘Furnished Apartments (with service)’ applies when no catering is provided. ‘Furnished (no service)’ includes houses, bungalows and flats. ‘Non-paying guest’ includes invited and uninvited guests and people who bring their own rations, help with the housework or make voluntary contributions towards their host’s expenses. Holiday camps of the non-commercial type are provided by such organisations as the Worker’s Travel Association and the Holiday Fellowship. Butlin’s are the best known of the commercial camps.

[2] The statistically-minded may like to note that this differential ratio = (0 - e)/0 where 0 = observed numbers requiring accommodation of a given kind in 1947, and e = expected numbers, the expectation being determined by the general increase in the number requiring accommodation of any kind. It is thus directly related to χ 2 = (o - e) 2 /e.

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The most marked differential increase is in the demand for commercial holiday camps; but even so, such camps are only desired by 6 per cent of the 1947 holiday-makers. The accommodation in great and increasing demand is for Board Residence, which includes the wide range from middle-class hotels to boarding houses.

More people found accommodation as non-paying guests in 1946 than found accommodation of any single other kind. But evidently this is faut de mieux , for the differential change in demand is most markedly away from accommodation of this kind. If the demand for holidays in 1947 is as great as was estimated in Chapter 1, many people may have been unable to obtain the accommodation they desired most. Some may have gone without holidays altogether, but others may have contented themselves with the differentially less desired types of accommodation, such as this. The proportions of people who had accommodation of a given kind in 1947 would then agree more closely with those for accommodation had in 1946 than for accommodation wanted in 1947. Figures for accommodation had in 1947 could thus be used as a check on the estimates given in Chapter 1.

Excluding all those who gave no answer, or answered ‘don’t know’ or ‘none’ when asked about accommodation in 1946 or 1947, there are 1,193 who have specified accommodation in both years. Table 28 shows how many specified each type of accommodation in each year, and what percentage of those who specified any given type of accommodation in 1946 specified the same type in 1947.

Numbers of people who
Type of Accommodation a. had this type in 1946 b. want this type in 1947 c. want the same type again c. as a % of a.
Licensed Hotel 99 149 88 89
Board Residence 301 367 254 84
Paying Guest 135 125 93 69
Bed and Breakfast 63 45 37 59
Furnished Apartments(with service) 71 72 55 77
Furnished Apartments (no service) 60 57 41 68
Camping Out 26 22 18 69
Youth Hostel 7 8 5 71
Non-paying Guest 363 234 230 63
Holiday Camp (Butlin’s etc.) 38 63 29 76
Holiday Camp (Voluntary Assns.) 11 14 10 91
School, Scout etc. Camp 3 8 3 100
Others 16 29 7 44
TOTAL 1193 1193 870 73

Relatively few of the people who had Bed and Breakfast accommodation in 1946 want this type in 1947. Other types which appear relatively unlikely (compared with the general rate of 73% to commend themselves repeatedly are:

The miscellaneous types tabulated as ‘Other’

Non-paying Guest

Furnished Apartments (no service)

Camping out

Paying Guest

Youth Hostel

There are probably specific reasons for most of these findings. Youth hostels presumably appeal to people in a relatively restricted age range. Campers may have been disillusioned by the weather in 1946, which was exceptionally bad in most parts of the country. Nearly everyone who wanted to go as a non-paying guest in 1947 had this kind of accommodation in 1946. There is thus a large number of people who find this kind habitually, in addition to the large number who found it in 1946 but do not regard it as their first preference for 1947.

A special examination was made of the types of accommodation required in 1947 by those who had no holiday in 1946, but nothing of consequence emerged.

18. The types of accommodation preferred by different sections of the community

Not only do differing proportions of people in different occupations expect a holiday, but among those who expect to have one, the proportions wanting accommodation of particular kinds vary. For instance 15 per cent of the clerical workers going on holiday intend to go camping, but only 2 per cent of the professional people do. Yet in both occupations the same proportion of people intend to take a holiday. Table 29 displays variations of this kind.


Answers to Qn 10b: What type of accommodation have you arranged or what are you looking for in 1947? analysed by occupation of informant

Occupation No. expecting a holiday Type of Accommodation wanted (per cent)
Licensed Hotel Board Residence Paying Guest Bed & B. or Furnished rooms Camp (Butlin’s etc.) Any other type camp or hostel Non paying guest All others
Agriculture 36 0 11 8 19 6 6 42 8
Mining 55 2 43 13 18 5 4 15 0
Factory 283 5 30 18 17 7 7 12 4
Building &c 169 5 29 10 14 7 2 25 8
Clerical 131 18 32 4 9 6 9 12 10
Distributive 119 15 31 5 12 8 3 16 10
Miscellaneous 195 4 23 11 14 11 3 25 8
Professional 113 27 27 11 13 2 0 7 13
Retired 92 12 23 9 9 0 5 32 10
Housewife 630 12 28 13 16 5 2 18 6
All Occupations 1823 10 28 11 15 6 4 19 7

In this table some types of accommodation have been combined, because the numbers of people in a given occupation who intend to take a holiday are sometimes too small to warrant a detailed break-down. ‘Bed and Breakfast’ has been grouped with furnished accommodation of both kinds (with and without service); and camping out, youth hostels, holiday camps run by voluntary associations, and school, Scout, O.T.C., and other camps have been combined into one group. Holiday camps of the commercial type have not been included in this group: although the numbers are not great, differences are suggestively large. * But both types of camping appeal to some people in practically every occupational group.

Housewives tend to follow the lead of the other occupational groups and do not form a group with very distinct requirements. But even here some peculiarities are to be found. It would have been surprising if any of the housewives interviewed had been expecting to go to a Youth Hostel or a School camp! Relatively large numbers choose, or had to content themselves with, accommodation in furnished apartments, with or without service. The grouping of the data in Table 26 tends to obscure these differences, but they are not so slight as to be statistically insignificant.

[3] Chi-squared = 20.49 for 9 d.f. - a value too great to be expected by chance as often as one time in fifty. Note too that any errors in classifying occupations would tend to lower the value, and conceal its significance.

- 26 - - 27 -

There are very marked differences in the types of accommodation wanted in different types of resort as Table 30 shows.


Per cent of people desiring a given kind of resort who want accommodation of a given type (in 1947).

Type of Accommodation Type of resort
Seaside Country Town
% % %
Licensed Hotel 11 11 5
Board Residence 40 14 20
Paying Guest 11 21 10
Bed and Breakfast 5 2 2
Furnished (with service) 9 7 5
Furnished (without) 4 7 -
Camping out 1 4 -
Youth Hostel - 1 -
Non-paying guest 6 26 56
Camp, Butlin’s etc. 7 4 2
Voluntary assn, 2 - -
School, etc. - 2 -
Variable - - -
Others - - -
Don’t know or No Answer 4 1 -
Total 100 100 100
Number of cases 508 83 41

Those who go to the seaside most frequently expect to obtain board-residence; but an absolute majority of those who go to towns expect to get accommodation as non-paying guests.

Whereas in all only seven people had decided to what region to go in 1947 without deciding what type of accommodation they wanted, nearly half (48 per cent) of the people who knew what type of accommodation they wanted had not decided to what region to go. Moreover people who have not decided to what region to go do not require the same type of accommodation to the same extent as people who have chosen their region. Evidently a good many people give their first consideration to type of accommodation, and such people have special likes and dislikes. Table 31 shows the differences.


Types of accommodation required by those who have and those who have not decided in what region to spend their holiday in 1947 (per cent)

Type of Accommodation Region Decided Region Undecided
Hotel 7 13
Board residence 25 35
Paying guest 13 12
Bed and Breakfast 4 4
Furnished (with service) 6 8
Furnished (without) 6 4
Camping out 1 2
Youth Hostel - -
Non-paying guest 29 13
Camp (Butlin’s etc.) 7 6
Camp (Voluntary Assns) 1 1
School camp - 1
All others 1 1
Total 100 100
Number of cases 830 777

Those who make the type of accommodation their first consideration are generally speaking-those who prefer the more-expensive types. It is people with such tastes who are most mobile, and easily attracted to new places.

It has already been shown that people are attracted to different types of resort in different regions, and that different types of accommodation are sought in different types of resort. It is therefore not surprising to find that different types of accommodation are sought in different regions. Table 32 shows these differences.


Percentage of people wanting a holiday in a given region who want accommodation of a particular kind in 1947 .

Region No. of cases Type of accommodation
Hotel Board Residence Paying Guests B. & B. or Furnished room Camp (Butlin’s etc.) Any other type of camp or hostel Non-paying guests All others
Scotland 58 7 14 21 7 - 9 42 -
Northern 40 2 28 15 25 - 2 25 3
North Eastern 42 - 14 10 17 19 10 30 -
North Western 171 4 37 16 17 8 2 16 -
Midlands 27 - 7 4 15 44 - 30 -
Eastern 67 - 24 7 15 26 2 26 -
Midlands 12 8 8 8 17 - - 59 -
Wales 69 3 29 10 25 1 3 29 -
London 35 14 9 9 9 - - 59 -
South Eastern 80 5 21 16 15 3 1 34 5
Southern 70 11 30 15 11 3 - 30 -
South Western 80 12 28 13 21 1 3 22 -
Abroad 86 19 22 9 8 3 2 29 8

Most of the holiday makers going to London and the Midlands, where the main resorts are towns, want to go as non-paying guests. In the seaside regions (Northern, North Western, Eastern, Southern and South Western) board residence is in greatest demand.

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19. How accommodation was obtained

1377 people gave definite answers to question 5: How long in advance did you fix your accommodation (in 1946)? The most convenient way of showing the answers is cumulatively, as is done in Table 33. Only 0.7 per cent reported having booked accommodation 12 months beforehand. They must be included when a count is made of the total number of people who reserved their accommodation as much as 9 months in advance, and so on.


Per cent of people taking a holiday in 1946 who arranged their accommodation not less than a given number of months (or weeks) in advance.

Length of time in advance Per cent booking
At least 12 months 0.7
At least 9 months 2.0
At least 6 months 3.2
At least 3 months 16.4
At least 2 months 33.0
At least 1 months 47.4
At least 3 weeks 61.1
At least 2 weeks 66.2
At least 1 weeks 74.1

The balance, of 25.9 per cent, consists of 8.8 per cent who made their arrangements less than 1 week in advance and 17.1 per cent who made no advance arrangements.

There is very little association between the length of time people book their holidays in advance and the length of time they spend away. The average number of days spent away by people who do not book in advance is 10.07, by others, 10.47 -- a difference of less than half a day. Over 50 per cent of the people who book their holidays six months or more in advance are away for ten days or less, and the average number of days is 11.56. Averages for people booking three weeks to two months ahead are slightly lower than for people not booking in advance. Altogether only 1.64 per cent of the total variation in days spent away can be treated as dependent on the extent of advance reservation.

The means by which accommodation was obtained is shown in Table 34. It is a tabulation of answers to Qn. 11: How did you obtain your accommodation (in 1946)? Information was obtained from 1408 people.


Per cent of holiday-makers who obtained their accommodation by the means shown:

By Per cent obtaining accommodation
Invitation 39
Personal recommendation 26
Previous experience 16
Personal inquiry 9
Advertisement 8
Agency (public) 1
Agency (private) 1

It is interesting to see what a relatively small part advertisements and agencies play.

Detailed tabulations have not been made to discover the relationship between the means used to obtain accommodation and the type of accommodation obtained, the length of time it was reserved in advance, etc.

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20. The cost of accommodation of different types

618 people who had a holiday in 1946 stated what they paid (per adult per week) for their accommodation and whether they though it expensive, reasonable or cheap. The numbers vary for each type (it is interesting to note that nine ‘non-paying guests’ gave this information); and the proportion who thought their accommodation expensive, etc., also varies from type to type. The numbers and proportions are shown in Table 35, together with an index of expensiveness, computed in the same way as the index of popularity used above. Note that the opinions thus taken into account are, in every case, the opinion of an individual who had a given type of accommodation about accommodation of that type. No one was asked to express any opinion about the expensiveness of any accommodation he or she did not have.


Accommodation analysed according to opinions on whether it was expensive, reasonable or cheap

Accommodation Number of Informants Opinion on Price Index of Expensiveness
Expensive Reasonable Cheap
% % %` + -
Licensed Hotel 69 34.8 62.3 2.9 .32
Board Residence 235 19.1 73.2 7.7 .11
Paying Guest 106 9.4 70.8 19.8 .10
Bed and Breakfast (or less than full board) 57 12.3 77.2 10.5 .02
Furnished Apartment with service 37 8.1 83.8 8.1 .0
Furnished Apartment no service 13 2.3 46.2 38.5 .23
Camping out 3 --- 66.7 33.3 .33
Youth Hostel 2 --- --- 100.0 1.00
Non-paying Guest 51 --- 15.7 84.3 .84
Holiday Camp (Butlin’s etc.) 32 18.8 78.1 3.1 .16
Holiday Camp Assns.) 6 --- 66.7 33.3 .33
School, Scout, O.T.C., Camp etc. 2 --- 50.0 50.0 .50
Variable 1 --- 100.0 --- .0
Others 4 --- 25.0 75.0 .75
Total 618 15.7 66.8 17.5 .02

For types of accommodation where the numbers are small, the data naturally provide only a rough indication of opinion. 16 per cent of the people who gave the information expressed the opinion that their accommodation was expensive; 67 per cent found it reasonable, and 17 per cent, cheap. There is thus no evidence of any general dissatisfaction with 1946 prices. Licensed Hotel accommodation is the type most likely to be considered expensive, as its high positive index of expensiveness shows; Youth Hostel accommodation if we can place reliance on the small number of opinions obtained, is the most likely to be considered cheap.

Further information is given in Table 4 of Appendix C about the amount paid by these 618 informants per adult per week. It shows the average paid for each type of accommodation, and the maximum and minimum. It also shows the average, maximum and minimum paid by the people who considered it expensive, by those who considered it reasonable, and those who considered it cheap.

A statistical test, the results of which were given in full in the first report, shows that the people who considered that the accommodation they had was expensive did, on the whole, pay more than people who had the same accommodation and considered it reasonable or cheap - although there is naturally a considerable amount of overlap between the prices.

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The main administrative problem to which this survey relates is that of adjusting the supply of accommodation for home holidays to the demand. The report provides some information concerning the demand, but none, except indirectly, concerning the supply. It does not cover the whole problem.

The most significant evidence is in Chapter 1, sections 2 and 3, and Chapter 2, section 5. On the one hand 50 per cent more people wanted holidays in 1947 than had them in 1946. On the other hand the main summer season might be extended from two months to three and a half.

An extension of this amount should help to solve the problem even if it does not provide the full solution. It is more economical to increase the use which is made of existing accommodation than to create more; and evidence that the existing is inadequate must be clear to prove that more is needed.

Holiday-makers would be better pleased if the summer season, which now occupies July and August, could be extended from the beginning of June to the middle of September. Their desires are diversified, but external conditions impose on them an artificial conformity. Many of these conditions might be described as regulations: they are acts in which a limited and local sovereignty is exercised to restrict the freedom of dissenting individuals. They appear in evidence given in sections 6, 7, 8 and 9 of chapter 2 and sections 14 and 15 of chapter 3.

Let us suppose a manager holds a ballot among his employees to decide when the firm shall be closed for holiday. Some individuals may opt for June or September, but more are likely to choose July or August. Accordingly the firm may be closed, say in July. The plans of all the employees are regulated by this decision. Instead of some going away in one month and some in another, all go at the same time or not at all.

Moreover dependants of the employees who go in family parties are affected. They too, have to take their holidays at the same time. The head of the family possesses a domestic sovereignty, and his decision regulates the behaviour of the other members. Whether the regulation is democratic or patriarchal in origin, its effect is the same: it imposes external limitations on the spontaneous variation of holiday plans.

The academic calendar imposes regulations which are similar in effect. So too do general customs, such as that of taking holidays from weekend to weekend and booking accommodation from Saturday to Saturday; and so do local customs, such as the Scottish Fair weeks. It is not shown whether there are any government regulations which might be added to this list.

The consistency which this survey reveals in people’s holiday habits is limited in degree. The analyses may possibly exaggerate the degree, since they do not always show how many vague and non-committal answers were given to each question. The evidence shows that it is hazardous to attempt to infer what X will do in 1947 from what X did in 1946. It would therefore be unjustifiable to conclude that people are unwilling to vary their plans from year to year. Variety may be the spice of holiday-making.

The following questions may be worthy of consideration:

  1. 1. How far is it possible to influence employers in favour of giving summer leave before July or after August to employees who are willing to take it then?

  2. 2. How far is it possible, e.g. by providing facilities for school or Scout holiday camps etc., for older children and modifying the academic calendar for younger ones, to influence some members of families to take their holidays at different times from others?

  3. 3. Can diversity be encouraged between regions or between occupations?

  4. 4. What are the causes of preferences and dislikes in the choice of holiday resorts? Do some members of family parties regulate the choice of others? Are some people attracted to some resorts by special facilities which might be equally well provided elsewhere?

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