Travel through time

In one of the busiest months for many Brits to pack their bags and go on a break, we take a look back at what was trending with travel, tourism and holidays through the decades

60s – SUN, SEA AND THE 60s

High-flying hols

Economy class was introduced at the tail end of the 1950s and this, coupled with an increase in earnings between 1955 and 1970, meant that your 1960s holiday might have been the first time you could afford to fly to your destination – so maybe it was your first time on a plane. In 1961, Britannia Airways was founded and flew to places like Spain, the Canaries, Malta and North Africa, while in 1966, Freddie Laker founded Laker Airways offering cheap air travel worldwide.

Hi-di-hi holiday camps

With a range of activities suitable for all the family come rain or shine, catering and affordable prices (given the average weekly pay at the time), holiday camps were particularly popular in postwar Britain. This was further helped by the introduction of two weeks’ paid holiday for most workers. Guests were often greeted by entertainment staff in red (Butlin’s) or blue (Pontin’s) coats. Whether a day out at the seaside or a fortnight-long stay, all British resorts offered several fun forms of escapism.


The British Tourist Authority 


The first British Travel Centre opened in Frankfurt in 1978, run by the BTA, British Rail and British Airways. It was a one-stop shop for visitors to Britain. BTA also ran a Come to Britain promotion with Kellogg’s, resulting in thousands of enquiries from Germany.

Royal Silver Jubilee

In the year of the Royal Silver Jubilee in 1977, the BTA ran Operation Friendship – inviting thousands from around the globe who had served Britain to return for the celebrations. They would receive 50 coupons offering savings on food, drink and accommodation.


Perfect packages

Though originally pioneered by Thomas Cook in 1841, the package holiday made a resurgence in the 1980s. Most ‘bucket and spade’ breaks were taken in sunny European destinations – Gibraltar and Malta were particular favourites. Gibraltar was an obvious holiday destination for Brits looking to feel at home with some of their creature comforts. Malta – the tiny archipelago in the central Mediterranean – was also popular, as people loved the beaches, guaranteed sunshine and affordable prices.

All aboard for cruises

Cruises also gained in popularity during this decade – particularly ‘cruise to nowhere’ breaks, as everything you could possibly need was already on board! To cater for this new demand, mega ships began to spring up everywhere. Still a popular holiday choice now, the cruises we know and love today are usually modelled on their 80s ancestors.


The CD Walkman

Though it was released prior to this decade, it was especially popular in the 90s and was a must-pack item for many holidaymakers and music lovers.

The handwritten postcard

With such an increase in – and reliance on – technology, many missed the personal touch of a physical ‘Wish you were here’ message.

Snap happy 

Another popular holiday accessory was the disposable camera – present at every occasion worth remembering in the 90s!


The Beach (2000)

In his first film outing since Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio played a traveller in Thailand. The iconic soundtrack and cinematography inspired millions of tourists to visit Maya Bay beach – leading to it becoming so popular that it had to be closed temporarily in 2018 for recovery!

Mamma Mia! (2008)

This hit movie featuring big-name stars – including Meryl Streep and Pierce Brosnan – contributed to a boom in Greek tourism, seeing a huge increase in the number of visitors to the islands of Skiathos and Skopelos, where it is filmed.

Lord of the Rings (2001)

Though the trilogy was set in fictional Middle Earth, the filming locations are in New Zealand – with so-called ‘Tolkien Tourism’ leading to a huge annual tourist increase between 2000 and 2006, from 1.7 million to 2.4 million.

Game of Thrones (2011-2019)

Game of Thrones has inspired travel to its many filming locations and seen a surge in their popularity. Such places include Dubrovnik in Croatia – the setting of King’s Landing – Northern Ireland, Iceland and Spain.

Leave a Reply

Please login or register to leave a comment.

Please wait while we process your request.

Do not refresh or close your window at any time.