Published on Friday, May 19, 2017

UK incoming visitor numbers at record levels

The number of visits by overseas residents to the UK reached record levels in 2016.

Figures from the ONS, released this week, show there were 37.6 million visits by overseas residents to the UK in 2016, 4% more than in 2015.

This was the sixth consecutive rise and the highest figure ever recorded.

The most frequent reason for visiting the UK was for holidays, accounting for 37% of the total visits.

The number of holiday visits in 2016 was very similar to the previous year.

The average length of visits to the UK has also stayed fairly consistent.

Meanwhile, there was a slight rise in the amount spent by overseas residents - £22.5 billion - an increase of 2% compared with 2015.

The average amount spent on visits to the UK in 2016 was £596, slightly less than the £608 spent per visit in 2015.

The highest spenders per day were residents of North America (£109), followed by residents of 'Other Countries' (£90) and Europe (£70).

The ONS figures also showed a record number of Brits going overseas. See story here.

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  • Surprise! Surprise!

    Although I do agree with the figures that more overseas visitors are coming to Britain this year; due to the fact that the £ is low and Britain appears safer than some other countries, it has always worried me how the ONS gathers their information. Many years ago (when I was keen) I attended tourism meetings and never found out the answer. I did stop going after an expert revealed they were targeting North Korea for potential tourists! As an inbound tour operator, I have never been asked the question. As a tourist myself, I have never been asked the question - apart from once when visiting a friend in Malta.

    By Irene Laird, Friday, May 19, 2017

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