Holiday company Page & Moy discovered that the proportion of overseas holidays taken by those over 45 has risen from 47% in 2006 to 50% in 2011.

Britons aged 45-54 take more foreign holidays than any other age group, while those aged 45-64 accounted for 41% of all expenditure in holidays abroad in 2010 and 2011.

Page & Moy's specialist company Travelsphere carried out the research in association with Mintel Research Consultancy. The report concluded that UK tourists over 65 years old were the most prolific of the over-45 market - with 28% of them taking two or more foreign holidays a year against an all-age average of only 19%.

As many as 40% of over-65s' trips abroad in 2010 were 14 nights or longer in length, with around 9% of trips being a month or longer.