What are the key facts and figures for tourism economy in the UK?

The UK summer seems to have at a last arrived. But how successful will the tourism industry be judged in the UK? It’s predicted tourism visits in the UK will reach 36.7 million for 2016. And since 2010, tourism has been the fastest growing sector in the UK in terms of creating and retaining jobs. And as a country, the UK enjoys excellent global connectivity, with well over 100 countries having direct air connections.

It’s worth unpacking some of the headline tourism facts and figures.

uk tourism

uk tourism

Top tourism facts and figures in the UK

1. Total value – tourism is predicted to continue grow, Britain is forecast to have a tourism industry worth over £257 billion by 2025 and visitors who travel by air tend to spend more per visit than those using other means of transport.

2. Total jobs – by 2015 Deloitte research predicted tourism will be supporting 3.8 million jobs which will be concentrated where there are more visits, so for example, in 2015 there were 18.6 million visits to London, spending £11.9 billion; this represents 54% of all inbound visitor spending, with 40% of visitor nights spent in the capital.

3. Inbound tourism – is considered to continue to be the fastest growing tourism sector, in 2015 36.1 million overseas visitors who came to the UK spent £22.1 billion; in England alone.

4. Total GDP – it’s thought that by 2025 the tourism industry will contribute just fewer than 10% of UK GDP; the top visitor attractions tend to be visitor/heritage centres, farms and wildlife attractions/zoos.

5. Visits to the UK – a survey run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in the last recorded 12 months, April 2015 to March 2016 found visits to the UK was 4% higher than the previous 12 months at 36.51 million visits.

6. Average spend per visit – May 2016 had seen the highest value of spending so far in 2016; however, we are still down on May last year – 8% lower at £1.86 billion (ONS); international visitors spend their money on activities such as visiting castles, museums or to explore the countryside or coast.

7. Visits by journey – in the last rolling year (June 2015 to May 2016) visits by journey are broadly split by holiday visits (37%); visits to friends and family (30%); business visits (25%) and miscellaneous visits which can include short term study, shopping, sports events and more (8%) – (ONS).

8. Visits by region – EU15 (member countries by European Union) in the last rolling year was (56%); Other EU (12%); Rest of Europe (6%), North America (11%) and the Rest of the World (15%); the largest uplift in visits by region was from Other EU.

9. Visitor nights – Visit Britain reported the number of visitor nights spent in the UK increased by 3% in 2015 to 273 million nights, with the average number of nights per visit being 7.6.

10. Average spend – in 2015 the average spend per visit in total was £611 and the top three visitor markets are France, USA (the fastest growing market too) and Germany; all valuable sources of income for the UK.

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