The UK saw strong growth in 2017 from a mix of overseas visitor markets including China, Australia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), India and the US, underpinning a record year for inbound tourism.
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% on 2016 to a record 337,000 and spending of £694 million, up 35%.
Visits from the US, the UK’s most valuable market for tourism spend, grew 13% to 3.9 million in 2017, the highest since 2000. Visitors from the US spent a record £3.6 billion, up 9%.
Records were set for visits and spend from the GCC and India. There were 562,000 visits from India, up 35% with visitors spending a record £454 million. There were a record 812,000 inbound visits from the GCC in 2017, up 5% with spend up 55%, to a record £2.2 billion.
There were 1.1 million visits from Australia in 2017, up 11%, with spending of £1.2 billion, up 13%.
There were a record 25.6 million visits from the EU in 2017, with visitors spending £10 billion.
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%, with visitors spending £24.5 billion, up 9%.
Inbound tourism to the nations and regions in 2017
Inbound tourism visits across the English regions, outside of London, reached a record 16.5 million, up 3% with spending equalling the previous record of £7.8 billion.
Records were also set for the number of visits to London, up 4% on 2017 to 19.8 million, with spending up 14% to a record £13.5 billion.
There were 1.1 million inbound visits to Wales, with spending of £369 million.
Inbound visits to Scotland were up 17% to 3.2 million, with a record spend of £2.3 billion, up 23%.
Tourism is worth £127 billion annually to the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across its nations and regions.