Scientists reveal DNA of happy holiday memories - and no passport required!

Never mind sun, sand and sangria – British holidays have been voted the most memorable by 63% of people. The figures rise to 71% for parents in their 30s and 40s.

Online PR News – 02-March-2010 – – Never mind sun, sand and sangria – British holidays have been voted the most memorable by 63% of people. The figures rise to 71% for parents in their 30s and 40s.

The findings come from a study into happy memories by family holiday company Butlins. The company recruited Dr. Ilona Boniwell, Professor of Positive Psychology at the University of East London, to create the DNA of the perfect holiday memory by analysing thousands of holiday experiences. The results? The DNA of JOY:

D: days of holiday
N: new friends you make
A: absorbing activities
J: joy of the senses
O: one and only moments
Y: your family/loved ones around you

Dr. Boniwell has identified a formula to capture the type of holiday most likely to deliver long-lasting, happy memories.

“It is the abundance of absorbing activities and sharing with family and friends which prove to be the most influential ingredients of the perfect holiday formula,” explains Dr. Boniwell.

Butlins conducted the research to find out which of our own childhood events triggered the happiest memories for today’s parents. Holidays came top with almost half of the 2000 parents polled, followed by school days (22%).

A third of the parents polled also claimed that holidays were when they spent the most quality time with their own children, beating birthdays and Christmas. Surprisingly, over 90% said they did not feel they spent quality time with their kids on their birthdays.

Mark Hunter, Butlins’ Development Manager said: “Our research confirms that parents see holidays as the perfect time to build happy family memories for their children. Our guests tell us that some of their fondest memories are of watching their children discovering new and exciting experiences like archery, fencing or scaling the climbing wall. There’s more to do at Butlins than you think!”

The study backed this up with 72% of holiday makers citing action, adventure and exploration as central to their most cherished holiday memories - debunking the common notion that the only way to spend a break is on a sun lounger.

For those that are planning a more exotic family holiday, the study confirmed the biggest stress points for families is actually travelling abroad. Airports were deemed the most stressful part of holidaying abroad (46%) closely followed by the actual travelling for 40%. A third of parents said unfamiliar food and facilities sent blood pressure soaring, whilst 1 in 5 were frazzled by luggage restrictions!

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For further information, images, case studies or the full report from the University of East London, please contact Ellie Hailey on 020 3170 0950 or

Notes to editors:
Butlins has three beachside Resorts, Bognor Regis (West Sussex), Minehead (Somerset) and Skegness (Lincolnshire) and welcomes around 1.5m guests per year. Although it mainly offers family UK Breaks it also offers around 50 Big Weekend breaks - music themed breaks for those aged 18+.
Butlins is part of Bourne Leisure Ltd which also owns Warner Leisure Hotels and Haven Holidays and was awarded Best Travel Company 2008 by Travel Trade Gazette. Bourne Leisure was also voted second in the Best Big Company to work for award in the Sunday Times' list out on 8 March 2009.

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from OnePoll. Total sample size was 2000 parents. Fieldwork was undertaken in January 2010. The poll was carried out online. The figures are unweighted.

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