Britain welcomes record number of visits in 2017

Wednesday 25 July 2018

Toronto, ON (July 23, 2018) – 2017 was an outstanding year for overseas visits to the UK as it welcomed a record 39.2 million overseas visits in 2017, up 4% on 2016. International visitors spent £24.5 billion in 2017, up 9% on 2016, according to the latest official statistics from Britain’s national tourism agency VisitBritain.

The UK welcomed 835,000 visits from Canada in 2017, up 1% on 2016. Although spend has fallen 5% compared to the record year 2016 to £604 million.

Britain and Canada share strong ancestral ties, and visiting friends and relatives lead in terms of volume of visits from the Canadian market, up 10% on 2016 with 374,000 visits. The number of holiday visits declined by 7% to 310,000. Business travel was up 11% to 83,000.


VisitBritain Executive Vice President, The Americas, Gavin Landry said:

‘Britain remains a favourite destination for Canadians. With its connections of family and friends, Canadians love to explore the culture, local flavours and heritage of the UK. The launch of our new ‘I Travel For’ campaign has further encouraged Canadians to follow their passions and explore beyond Britain’s famous landmarks to experience a more unexpected side of Britain.

‘Additionally, Canadians have enthusiastically welcomed our Love is GREAT campaign which promotes welcome, diversity and inclusion to LGBTQ travellers to visit Britain. For the second year, the UK government is participating in Pride parades across Canada in four cities: Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal. With our rainbow Union Jack flag, we proudly celebrate the 40th anniversary of the rainbow flag.’


Inbound tourism to the nations and regions in 2017

English regions: 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. 

London: 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.

Wales: There were 1.1 million inbound visits to Wales, with spending of £369 million. 

Scotland: Inbound visits to Scotland were up 17% to 3.2 million, with a record spend of £2.3 billion, up 23%.




VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, is responsible for inspiring the world to explore Britain and for developing the UK’s visitor economy.


VisitBritain Media Contact
Cathy Stapells, Marketing & Communications Manager - Canada



For more information contact:

VisitBritain Media Team

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