Canadian visits to Great Britain continue double-digit growth

Thursday 13 July 2017

Toronto, ON (July 13, 2017) – Figures released today by VisitBritain show continued strong growth from Canada in the first three months of 2017, with visits up 33% to 132,000.

The figures show it was a record first quarter for overall inbound visits and spend, with 8.3 million visits, up 10%, a new Q1 record, and Q1 spending jumped up by 16% to £4.4 billion ($7.4 billion CAD) compared to January to March last year, a new Q1 spending record and £586 million ($984 million CAD) more than in Q1 2012.

While first-quarter visits from Canada to Britain were up significantly, spending dropped 17% to £75 million ($126 million CAD) in Q1 2017, likely a reflection of fluctuations in the exchange rate.


VisitBritain Interim Executive Vice President, The Americas, Paul Gauger said:

“These strong numbers show how much Canadians enjoy exploring the culture, heritage, cities and countryside of Britain. We are seizing the opportunity to build on this, showcasing the many special events and anniversaries being held in Britain this year: from the 70th anniversary of the Edinburgh Festivals, to the 20th anniversary of the first Harry Potter book, to commemorating the 200th anniversary of the death of beloved writer Jane Austen. As Canada celebrates its 150th birthday in 2017, we are highlighting the heritage and cultural links between Canada and Britain on our Canada150 hub. We encourage Canadians to explore their ancestral links to Britain.”


Additional global highlights:

In total 54 million nights were spent in the UK by inbound visitors in Q1 up 6% on January-March 2015 and also setting a new Q1 record.

Building on growth seen towards the end of 2016, Holiday visits spiralled up 21% to 2.8 million, while spending by visitors on holiday in the UK rocketed 37% to a Q1 record smashing £1.6 billion ($2.7 billion CAD).

Visiting friends and relatives (VFR), were up 7% on the previous year, to Q1 high of 2.7 million – a new Q1 record. Spending for this group increased 11% to £1.1 billion ($1.8 billion CAD) and the second Q1 in a row where VFR visitor spending topped £1 billon ($1.68 billion CAD).

Business visits were the only journey purpose to report a decline in Q1 2017, down 2% this quarter to 2.1 million. While visits were down, spending by business visitors rose 5% compared to weak Q1 2016 results to £1.1 billion ($1.8 billion CAD).


VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said:

“With forward-bookings for international arrivals tracking ahead for the coming months, we are anticipating a strong summer holiday season as we promote the message of value and welcome globally, showing people why they should book a holiday to Britain right now.”

Bookings overall for international arrivals to the UK during the summer are currently tracking 9% ahead of the same period last year.

Tourism is worth £127 billion annually to the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across its nations and regions.


* Exchange rate calculated $1.68 CAD = £1 GPB


About VisitBritain:

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

For more information contact:

VisitBritain Media Team

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