Attractions industry news

15 Aug 2018

Non-EU travellers driving strong growth in UK's inbound tourism

Strong growth from a mix of overseas visitor markets made 2017 a "record year" for inbound tourism in the UK.

New figures from VisitBritain show double-digit growth in visits and spend last year from China, the world’s most valuable outbound market, with visits up 29 per cent on 2016 to a record 337,000 and spending of £694m, up 35 per cent.

Visits from the US, the UK’s most valuable market for tourism spend, grew 13 per cent to 3.9 million visits in 2017, the highest since 2000. Visitors from the US spent a record £3.6bn, up 9 per cent.

Records were also set for visits and spend from the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and India.

There were 562,000 visits from India, up 35 per cent with visitors spending a record £454m. There were a record 812,000 inbound visits from the GCC in 2017, up 5 per cent with spend up 55 per cent, to a record £2.2bn.

Overall, 2017 was a record-breaker for overseas visits to the UK and for the amount visitors spent across the country. There were 39.2 million inbound visits to the UK in 2017, up 4 per cent, with visitors spending £24.5 billion, up 9 per cent.

"This growth underscores the increasing importance of tourism as an industry that demonstrates Britain is an outward-facing nation, welcoming and engaging people from all over the world," said VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates.

"Tourism is one of Britain’s most valuable export industries and the strong growth across many of our high-value markets demonstrates our continued ability to attract international visitors in a fiercely competitive global industry, and to deliver economic growth right across the country."

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