Tourists vs Locals: Where are tourists pushing the local population out?

Published on Dec 07, 2023
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During the restrictions on international travel in recent restrictions, the popularity of holidaying at home increased. Whether travelling to the regions full of natural beauty or taking an exciting city break, the rise of the ‘staycation’ was meteoric. However, even before this, some areas of the UK were struggling to cope with heavy tourism affecting local people, and residents would argue that the pandemic only exacerbated an existing issue.

 One reason for this big shift between locals and tourists is the vast amount of money to be made in the tourism industry. As well as the big hotels and campsites, many people now have the freedom to renovate their home and rent it out as a holiday cottage, or on sites like AirBnB. On top of this, the wealthiest in society often purchase second homes in popular areas, pushing the house prices and pricing local residents out. An example of this is the village of Chapel Stile in the Lake District, where only 14 out of the 123 homes are now lived in full-time.

 But where in the country is this most a problem? By looking at a number of factors in the cities and areas most attractive to tourists, Hey Discount have been able to reveal where locals are losing the battle to tourists the most.

Areas where tourists are having the biggest impact

1 - Bath, total score of 8.35/10:

The ancient city of Bath achieved the highest score, making it the destination where tourists are putting the most pressure on the local population. Bath ranked in the top 15 locations for all but one category, and it seems the problem will keep growing as there was a 108% rise in the number of searches about holidaying in Bath this year than before the pandemic.

Where to book hotels in Bath:

2 - Lake District, total score of 8.13/10:

The Lake District national park is the most visited tourist attraction in the country and contains the largest mountains and lakes in England, all located within a relatively small geographical area. Along with the natural beauty, the Lakes are home to picturesque towns and villages and are a huge attraction to those who love the outdoors. Unfortunately, this tourism greatly impacts the locals, with overcrowded roads and soaring house prices damaging the livelihoods of Cumbrians. Second and holiday homes are an issue, and unsurprisingly the Lake District had the most holiday home searches and the second-highest number of rental properties.

Where to book rental properties in the Lake District:

3 - Newquay, total score of 8.06/10:

The Cornish seaside resort of Newquay is the third-worst affected place by the mass influx of tourism, as locals suffer at the hands of the visitors. Local residents in Newquay earn an average wage of just over £17,000, which is one of the lowest of the places studied. On top of this, house prices have risen by 65%, meaning that on average it would take a local over 20 years to afford a house in the town. It seems those outside are looking for holiday homes in Newquay though, as it had the third-highest number of searches.

Where to book holiday homes in Newquay: Cornwall Hideaways

4 - London, total score of 7.81/10:

The nation's capital attracts by far the highest number of tourists in the country. Millions of people visit London from around the world every year. Unlike some locations on the list, it is massively popular with international tourists, as well as being a domestic travel location. The average house price in London is now almost three-quarters of a million pounds, up by 86% in a decade. It also had the second-highest number of searches for travelling there on holiday. London is full of national landmarks and attractions such as Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, and the Palace of Westminster.

Where to book hotels in London:

5 - York, total score of 7.37/10:

York is an ancient medieval city which captures the imagination of visitors with its stunning architecture and historical monuments. York is only a small city but attracts a lot of visitors from far and wide who have an impact on the local population. York scored highly in almost every category, and this issue looks like it will continue as the increase in searches for holidays in York is 84.5%.

Where to book hotels in York: Premier Inn

Visitor Numbers compared to Local Population

1 - City of London

  • Estimated number of visitors, 1.56 million people 
  • Estimated local population, 9,721 people
  • Estimated number of visitors per local resident, 160.89 people

The City of London is an area right at the heart of the capital city and contains the central business district, as well as historic buildings such as St Paul’s Cathedral, and the Royal Exchange. Very few people live in the City of London but it attracts millions of visitors, consequently, there are over 160 tourists per local resident.

2 - Isles of Scilly

  • Estimated number of visitors, 73,000 people 
  • Estimated local population, 2,224 people
  • Estimated number of visitors per local resident, 32.82 people

The Isles of Scilly are a small archipelago off the coast of Cornwall and are the most southerly point of Britain. Their southerly coastal destination means the islands have a very pleasant climate for the UK, and consequently attract many tourists.

3 - South Lakeland

  • Estimated number of visitors, 1.46 million people 
  • Estimated local population, 105,088 people
  • Estimated number of visitors per local resident, 13.88 people

South Lakeland is one of the local authority districts that make up the Lake District, as well as surrounding towns such as Kendal. There were almost 1.5 million visitors to the region compared to a local population of just over 100,000.  


  • The number of Airbnb stays was found by searching each location on AirDNA.
  • The average house price was found on Zoopla, we then used Wayback Machine to find the equivalent Zoopla page ten years earlier (or nearest date).
  • The number of visits to a location in England was found using VisitBritain data.
  • Population estimates for each area was found on
  • Google Keyword Planner was used to find the total number of global searches for “holiday homes” and “holiday” in each location over the past year.
  • We also looked at the “holiday” searches from 2018/19 to see the pre pandemic level of interest.
  • Once all the data was collected, we gave each destination a normalised score out of 10 for each factor before taking an average of these scores.

Charlotte Marshall

Lead Editor

Being a full-time content writer and part-time shopaholic, globe-trotter and avid lover of all things food (and wine)...I love researching the best money-saving hacks so that I can help fuel my own passions, and yours!


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