UK Tourism Statistics: Interesting Numbers and Facts You Need to Know

Tourism Statistics

Updated On: April 20, 2024 by   Fatma MohamedFatma Mohamed

Tourism Statistics are significant for travellers to measure the advantages and benefits of their travel and learn more about the best destinations for their trip. In addition, it is helpful for business owners who are considering starting a new investment in the tourism industry.

Travelling is an enjoyment; to visit another country or travel domestically (at your native country’s limits), you get a chance to discover new things and gain new experiences. But unfortunately, we only appreciated this advantage during the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions.

Tourism and travel are fundamental sources of the economy in many countries around the world. For example, the UK, especially inbound tourism there, hit records in 2019, with visitor spending amounting to around £28.4 billion (Source.Visitbritain.org). This statistic shows the significance of the tourism sector’s contribution to the UK economy.

The United Kingdom is always on the list and a hotspot for travellers worldwide. But, have you ever wondered about the UK Tourism Statistics or what makes the UK one of the most attractive touristic spots for travellers? Whether you want to learn more about the UK Tourism Statistics or plan to visit it soon, we’ve got you covered!

Why is the UK one of the Best Tourist Destinations? 

The United Kingdom always comes to mind when planning to pick a travelling destination. The United Kingdom is full of attractions in Scotland, England, Wales, and North Ireland. UK landmarks, such as Big Ben, the Natural History Museum, the Tower of London, Chester Zoo, Roman Baths, and more, are famous worldwide.

The United Kingdom is covered in stunning, charming scenery that catches the eye, relaxes the psyche, and makes you want to stay where you are throughout life. Scotland or Wales have impressive, extraordinary landscapes that make the place more like a scene from a fairytale movie. The United Kingdom has also inspired many directors and writers to film there because of the diverse regions which are perfect for their movies.                                    

The Most Visited Places in the UK

The tourism and travel industry provided 131.5 billion GBP from the gross domestic product of the UK in 2021 (Source: Statista). That number reflects the importance of tourism in the UK and its fame among other countries as an ideal tourist destination. Its cities are famous for their attractive destinations, from historical, artistic, and entertainment to natural spots. Let’s take a closer look and learn more about UK’s best and most visited places and destinations.

London

With a population of around 9 million, London is the largest city in the UK in addition to being England’s capital. This historical city always has a lot for everyone.

There is a variety of attractions and places that satisfy all tastes, from visiting museums and royal palaces like Buckingham Palace to exploring the historic Tower of London; the fun is never-ending in Europe’s greenest city. Whether you’re here for a vacation, business, or honeymoon, you’ll find a hotel that suits your needs and budget. It is undoubtedly the most visited city in the UK for having all it takes for an unforgettable stay.

Let’s check out some of London’s statistics before you pack your bags!

The number of visitors to London in 2019 reached about 21.7 million. This number was sharply affected by the Coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19), and it went down to 2.7 million in 2021 (Source: Statista).

Regarding international tourism, in 2021, the capital city ranked more inbound visits than all the other significant places together (Source: Statista). The city is a hotspot for business tourism and was listed among the leading destinations for international business conventions in 2021 (Source: Statista). In 2019 Pre-Covid-19, visitors spent around £2.104 billion ($2.585 billion).

Around 30 million travellers visit London from around the world annually. The number of tourists rose to 19 million in 2016 from 11 million in 2002 (Source: Condorferries).

The range of spending of international tourists in London, United Kingdom, reduced in 2021 over Pre-Pandemic levels due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Inbound tourism spending in London was almost £15.7 billion in 2019, while it has fallen sharply affected by the pandemic and reached nearly £2.7 billion in 2021. The number of overseas tourist visits decreased by 87% over the same period (Source: Statista).

The overnight tourist visits to London ranked third before the pandemic after Paris and Bangkok. Overnights were 1.3 million in 2019 but decreased to 0.3 million in 2020. Tourism in London was harshly affected by the Coronavirus pandemic after being one of the most visited destinations in the world.

Most Visited Tourist Attractions in London

The Natural History Museum is located in South Kensington and is entirely free to enter. The museum opens its doors to 4.5 million visitors annually. The building is as much to wonder at as the never-ending displays of natural history. 

15593664 natural history museum 1 Tourism Statistics are significant for travellers to measure the advantages and benefits of their travel and learn more about the best destinations for their trip. In addition, it is helpful for businesses considering starting a new investment in the tourism industry.

In 2022 The Natural History Museum was ranked first on the list of the most visited tourist attractions in London, with nearly 4.7 million visitors. The Tate Modern and the British Museum followed it that year, with around 4.1 million (Source: Statista).

The British Museum is located in London and welcomes almost seven million visitors annually. It is considered the most visited place in the UK and comes fifth worldwide. Attractively, the British Museum is totally free to enter. 

However, the number of visitors to the leading tourist attractions in London increased in 2022 over the previous year; still, it remained below the figures reported before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic (Source: Statista).

The United Kingdom and Ireland came ninth on the list of countries with the most significant estimated number of museums worldwide in 2021. According to International Travellers, London was the most visited destination in the UK in 2021, with more than 40% of international tourist arrivals in the UK. The UK capital was also placed as a top destination for Tourism in Europe based on the number of nights sleep, followed by Paris and Istanbul (Source: Statista).

Edinburgh

7626278 edinburgh cityscape panorama Tourism Statistics are significant for travellers to measure the advantages and benefits of their travel and learn more about the best destinations for their trip. In addition, it is helpful for businesses considering starting a new investment in the tourism industry.

Edinburgh City is another in the UK that is just ideal for those looking forward to exploring a unique place. Actually, it’s a paradise, to be fair, the perfect choice for relaxation and meditation.

Edinburgh is marvellous enough to be on the list of the most attractive places for travellers in the United Kingdom. Being the capital of Scotland, this stunning spot welcomes millions of travellers. It is one of those destinations that deserves to be visited at least once in a lifetime! But what do the Edinburgh statistics tell us? Let’s learn some! 

The city is the second-largest financial and touristic city in the United Kingdom. It’s historical and cultural with many features to make your trip here extraordinary. In 2018 Edinburgh welcomed 4.9 million visitors. Time Out magazine chose Edinburgh as the best city in the world in 2021.

Most Visited Tourist Attractions in Edinburgh

This city has an attractive feature for everyone, it has historic landmarks, such as Edinburgh Castle, Scottish National Museum and the Royal Mile. You can enjoy the views of the city from Arthur’s Seat, a peak in Holyrood Park. Edinburgh’s festivals are unique cultural events for those who love excitement, attracting over 4 million people annually. With this overall view and facts about Edinburgh, what are the most attractive places in the city?

6448314 edinburgh castle Tourism Statistics are significant for travellers to measure the advantages and benefits of their travel and learn more about the best destinations for their trip. In addition, it is helpful for businesses considering starting a new investment in the tourism industry.

Amazing UK Tourism Statistics You Should Know Before Go

The United Kingdom has an essential role in the international tourism industry. The country is a famous tourist destination with its historical and cultural diversity and features. There are numerous activities to do and places to visit. If you’re set on visiting the UK, you’ll get confused about where to start. But do not worry; these statistics and facts about United Kingdom tourism will help you. So, let’s take a look!

  • The tourism industry is predicted to expand by 3.8% by 2025 to be the fastest-growing industry in Britain (Source: Condorferries).
  • Overseas travellers spent nearly £22.5 billion in 2016 in the UK (Source: Condorferries). 
  • The number of inbound visits to the UK in 2018 reached 37.9 million, which was a record for the inbound tourism statistics. Although, it was 39.2 million in 2017, which is 3% lower (Source: Condorferries).
  • Around 40.86 million tourists visited the United Kingdom in 2019.
  • From 2020 to 2021, the travel and tourism total contribution to the UK’s GDP increased by 40% after breaking down sharply from the £234.5 billion contribution in 2019.
  • The United Kingdom ranks tenth among the top visited countries in the world.
  • In 2018 the number of domestic overnight tours in the UK was almost 118.6 million, down 2% compared to 2017 (Source: Condorferries).
  • The UK travel industry generated two million jobs in the UK economy and around 9% of the UK’s GDP (Source: Condorferries).
  • Inbound tourism made around £50 billion in the UK (Source: Condorferries).
  • Wales hosted more than 1 million tourists visiting annually and spending an amount of £3 billion each year.
  • In 2018 the UK recorded 72.8 million outbound visitors, down almost 1% from 2017 (Source: Condorferries).
  •  The number of international tourist visits to the UK broke down considerably to 11.1 million in 2020, which is a 73% decrease.
  •  The primary purpose for visiting UK overseas tourists is entertainment.
  • In 2021, 30% of total travel and tourism spending was business travel in the UK, and leisure spending was 70%.
  •  Overseas visits to the UK ranked at 3 million in June 2022, with a 7 % increase compared to May 2022, which was 2.8 million visits.
  •  However, this number is still 19% lower than the Pre-Pandemic levels, which was 3.7 million in June 2019.
  •  Tourism manufacturing in the United Kingdom is predicted to be worth over £257 billion (Source: Condorferries).
  •  Two million overseas visitors spent about £24.5 billion, which is record-breaking (Source: Condorferries).
  •  The number of overseas visitors to the UK was 7 million in 2018, with a 4.4% increase compared to 2017(Source: Condorferries).
  •  The number of inbound visits to the UK in 2021 was 6.4 million. Visitors spent £5.6 billion, with Q4 generating the most spending at £3.0 billion the same year (Source: Visitbritain.org).
  •  In 2021, the numbers of nights booked in the UK facilities were 93.5 million nights (Source: Visitbritain.org).
  •  The United Kingdom’s tourism recorded 7.2% of the UK GDP (Source: Condorferries).
  •  In 2017, the United Kingdom ranked seventh in the UNWTO international arrivals organisation. It registered 2.8% of the number of international arrivals. However, the highest number of visitors recorded that year was the highest in one year, with 39.2 million (Source: Condorferries).
  •  The visits number to the UK was 37.9 million in 2018. However, in 2017, it was 39.2 million (Source: Condorferries).
  • The US travellers made the highest contribution to the travel industry in the United Kingdom. When we look at the numbers which inform that contribution, we find that around 3.9 million American tourists visited The UK in 2018 and spent a total of £3.4 billion (Source: Condorferries).
  •  United Kingdom visitors were 3.2 million in November 2022, but in December 2022 declined to 3.0 million (Source: ons.gov.uk).
  •  Overseas residents visiting the UK spent an amount of £2.1 billion in November 2022, but in December 2022, it raised to £2.4 billion. The UK residents’ visits overseas broke down; it was almost 4.4 million in November 2022, and in December 2022 became 4.0 million (Source: ons.gov.uk).
  •  Visits abroad by UK residents were also lower in December compared to Pre-pandemic (Covid-19). In December 2022, there were 4.0 million visits. In December 2019, it became 5.1 million visits showing a decrease of 21% (Source: ons.gov.uk).

Here We Are

Tourism and travel are among life’s pleasures, increasing human experience, wisdom, and enjoyment—getting to know new cultures and people. Its actual value was more appreciated during the Coronavirus pandemic (Covid-19) and the resulting tourism restriction. But now we can explore and travel all we want, and we suggest you start with the UK. The United Kingdom is a marvellous tourist destination. Because of its different features and essential cultural and historical diversity, as we mentioned above.

May these statistics about tourism in the United Kingdom help you decide on your next destination. Now it’s your turn; we are waiting for you to tell us about your unforgettable trip!

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