our advocacy work
In 2019, the UK welcomed 40.9 million visits from international tourists, who contributed £28.4 billion to the economy. This makes our inbound tourism industry the UK’s 3rd largest service export industry and 5th largest export earner, employing over three million people.
UKinbound works closely with tourism businesses and we fully support the activity of our national tourist boards – VisitBritain, VisitScotland, Visit Wales and Discover Northern Ireland – in promoting the UK to overseas markets which is critical in driving consumer demand.
We also collaborate with industry bodies such as the Tourism Alliance and the Save Future Travel Coalition to lobby Government to remove barriers to growth and help lead the way to a new #GlobalBritain.
2022 forecast (last updated February 14 2022): For the full calendar year, inbound visits are forecast to increase to 21.1 million, and spending to £16.9 billion. These are 52% and 59% respectively of the visits and spend levels seen in 2019.
Visit numbers fell sharply in January but data showing recent improvements in flight bookings suggests visits are due to start to increase from late February onwards.
VisitBritain is forecasting a gradual pickup in inbound volume and value throughout the rest of 2022. The general direction is assumed to be upwards, contingent on travel restrictions not tightening from current levels, as well as a return of traveller confidence.
By summer it is forecast that around half of pre-COVID inbound visitor volume will have returned. By the end of 2022 it is forecast that visits will have recovered to around two thirds of pre-COVID levels.
In the aggregate, visits from Europe and from long haul markets are forecast to recover at similar paces, relative to 2019, for most of the year, although there will significant variation within long haul markets in particular; strong booking numbers have been seen recently from some long haul regions (e.g. North America and Middle East) while some other regions will lag (e.g. East Asia).
It is expected that spend per visit will remain higher than the pre-pandemic norm, due to longer average length of stay as well as inflation.
Our lobbying activity currently focuses on the following key policies and issues: