UKinbound and VisitBritain launch report on spending habits of inbound visitors at Parliamentary Reception

UKinbound Parliamentary Reception 2017
UKinbound Parliamentary Reception 2017

UKinbound and VisitBritain have produced a report which, for the very first time, details the spending habits of UK’s overseas visitors.

Launched at a Parliamentary Reception at the House of Commons on 12 July where the new Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism John Glen addressed MPs and industry stakeholders:

The research[1] reveals that:

  • USA dominates UK inbound market spend
  • Gulf State visitors are the most lucrative – all six GCC markets are in the top 10 for highest spend per visitor
  • Visitors from the Nordics, Benelux countries, USA, Italy and Spain rank eating out highly – their restaurant spend, as a proportion of total spend is significantly higher than the global average.
  • Visitors from Denmark, South Korea and Israel spend significantly more on live entertainment, relative to total spend, than the global average
  • Visitors from China, Hong Kong and Thailand like to buy UK products – retail accounts for over half of the value of all transactions made by these visitors
  • Latin American visitors enjoy the UK’s tourist attractions and exhibitions – this market tends to spend a higher proportion than the global average on this category.

According to the International Passenger Survey, over 37.6 million people visited the UK in 2016, spending £22.5 billion – increases of 4% and 2% respectively on 2015. Other data[1] shows that spending peaked in July and August with overall spending in the second half of 2016 higher than in the first half, as the exchange rate remained favourable for inbound visitors.

UKinbound Chief Executive Deirdre Wells OBE said, “We are delighted to present these results alongside industry partner VisitBritain. The findings provide a valuable insight regarding inbound visitors’ spending habits and provide further evidence of the incredible contribution that tourism makes to the UK economy. Further understanding our visitors will allow our members to tailor their itineraries, products and services, ensuring the UK remains a world class tourism destination.”

John GlenMinister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism said, “The money tourists spend goes into our local communities, creates jobs and helps preserve our world class heritage sites.These findings will increase our understanding of just what visitors to the UK spend their money on and will help the tourism sector ensure their offer is as strong as possible. The UK tourism industry is enjoying a good period of growth and I will do all I can to help that continue.”

CEO of VisitBritain Sally Balcombe said, “We want Britain to be top of people’s list as a ‘must-go now’ destination. Understanding more about what our visitors want, and getting a fast read out of where they spend their money, will ensure we get the right products to them at the right time. The insights from this type of research are invaluable for the industry and crucial for us staying a competitive travel destination.”

We asked MPs who attended the Parliamentary Reception for their thoughts on the event and why inbound tourism is so important to the UK:


[1]Source: Visitor spending data estimates are based on and extrapolated from aggregate depersonalised card usage data provided by VisaVue® Travel for the period of calendar year 2016.