Latest figures from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) show overseas visits to the UK in 2017 set a new record of 38.9 million visits, and spend of £24.3 billion, up 3% and 8% respectively compared to 2016.
The latest available data from the International Passenger Survey is available below. This shows the volume and value of visits to the UK by overseas residents for the most recent month and quarter.
The survey is run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – monthly data is generally available 7 weeks after the end of each month and quarterly data is generally available 4 months after the close of each quarter. For publication dates and more information
Visits and spend figures
Visits: The UK welcomed 2.6 million overseas visits in December, down by 11% compared to December 2016. Between October and December 2017 there were 8.8 million inbound visits to the UK, down 7% on the same period in 2016. However, overseas visits in 2017 overall set a new record. There were 38.9 million visits to the UK in 2017 overall (up 3% on 2016).
• Spending: In December 2017 visitor spending fell 13% compared to December 2016 to reach £1.6 billion. Between October and December 2017 inbound visitors spent a total of £5.3 billion, down 3% on the last quarter of 2016. But with record results in each of the first nine months of the year and in November, inbound visitors’ spending still shows record results for 2017 overall: international visitors spent £24.3 billion in 2017 (up 8% on 2016).
Visits by journey purpose
• Holiday visits were down 7% to 880,000 visits in December 2017, compared to December 2016, following on from the previous two months’ trend of declining numbers. Holiday visits in October – December 2017 were down 8% on the same months a year ago. Despite that, holiday visits for 2017 overall set a new record: there were 15.2 million inbound holiday visits to the UK in 2017, up 9% on 2016.
• Visits to friends and relatives (VFR) were down 8% year on year to 960,000 visits in December 2017. 2.9 million VFR visits were made in October – December 2017, tracking down 3% compared to the last three months of 2016. However, there were still 3% more VFR visits in 2017 overall than in 2016, with 11.9 million VFR visits made in 2017, a new record.
• Business visits fell by 9% in the last quarter of 2017, compared to the same months in 2016. Business visits in December 2017 were down 10% on December 2016. With only January and May registering growth in 2017, there were 5% fewer business visits to the UK in 2017 overall, compared to 2016.
• Miscellaneous journey purpose visits are a combination of a wide range of different journey purposes, including (but not limited to) short term study, looking for work, shopping, attending a sports event and many more. In December 2017 visits to the UK for those miscellaneous purposes decreased by over a third on the same month a year ago (-37%). Visits in the last three months to December 2017 were down 7% on October – December 2016. But, with new records set in January, February, April, June and November 2017, there were still 2% more miscellaneous visits in 2017 overall than in 2016 (although not a record).
Visits by global region
• Visits to the UK from all EU markets in December 2017 confirmed the negative trend observed in previous months – down 14% on December 2016, which resulted in visits in the last three months being 11% behind October – December 2016. With record-breaking results in seven of the first nine months of 2017, EU visits in 2017 overall are still tracking on par with 2016’s record levels, reaching 25.5 million visits overall.
• Looking at the EU15 markets only, there were 1.4 million visits to the UK in December 2017, down 11% on December 2016. The last 3 months of 2017 were behind 2016 levels. As a consequence visits from EU15 markets in October – December 2017 were down 9% on October – December 2016 to 4.9 million visits. While monthly growth results for this high-volume region were uneven in 2017, visits from this area to the UK in 2017 were on par with 2016’s record result.
• With 3 months of double-digit decreases, visits from all Other EU markets in October – December 2017 were down 21% on the same months a year ago, with visits in December 2017 from those countries down 25% on December 2016 to 320,000 visits. However, visits from Other EU markets in 2017 overall are still about on par with the record set in 2016.
• Visits to the UK from the Rest of Europe rose 26% year-on-year in December 2017 to 170,000 visits (not a record though). With a total of 700,000 visits from the rest of Europe in October – December 2017, up 21% on the same months a year ago, 2017 sets a new record in visits from those markets for the last quarter. Overall, visits from the rest of Europe to the UK in 2017 reached a new record of almost 2.6 million visits, up 11% on 2016.
• There were 240,000 visits from North America in December 2017, the third month of year-on-year double-digit decline in 2017. Despite visits growing year-on-year in November 2017, visits in October – December 2017 were down 8% on those months in 2016. With 4 months of double-digit growth in 2017 though, visits from North America in 2017 overall are up 8% on 2016 though short of the record.
• Visits from the ‘Rest of World’ markets in December 2017 were down 8% on December 2016. However, with records set in each month except August and September, ‘Rest of World’ markets set a new record in visits to the UK for both October – December (reaching 1.3 million visits in those months in 2017, up 8% on 2016), and 2017 overall (up 13% on 2016 to 6.3 million visits).
SOURCE VisitBritain https://www.visitbritain.org/latest-monthly-data-1