US visitors to Britain showing double digit growth and record spending levels

Thursday 09 June 2016

New York, NY, June 8, 2016 - VisitBritain, the national tourism agency, has announced the latest figures from the UK Office for National Statistics showing double digit growth of 10% to 3.3 million American visits to the UK in 2015. Spend was at a record £3.01 billion ($4.38 billion USD), the first time any single market has spent more than £3 billion ($4.36billion USD).

Data released show Americans stayed an average of 8.3 nights in 2015 and spent an average of £922 ($1341 USD) per visit. The busiest period of the year for Americans travelling to Britain was July to September (with 35% of visits), closely followed by April to June (with 29% of visits). The main reasons for Americans to visit Britain last year were leisure/vacation (42%) and visits to relatives and friends (26%). Business travel also accounted for nearly a quarter of all visits (23%).

"2015 was an excellent year for American travel to Britain and marks the best visitor numbers we have seen since 2007, before the global financial downturn," says Paul Gauger, Interim Executive Vice President, Americas for VisitBritain.

He adds: "The record-breaking spend levels underline just how important the US market is to Britain's economy. We continue to be Britain's most valuable source market by more than double (£1.5 billion/$2.18 billion) any other market. To build on this success, we will launch new elements to our successful marketing campaigns - "Home of Amazing Moments" #OMGB and the LGBT campaign "Love is GREAT Britain", and continue working in close collaboration with the US travel industry to promote London, England, Scotland and Wales."

Globally, Britain welcomed 36.1 million visitors in 2015, an increase of 5% compared to 2014. It is the fifth consecutive year in which the results have increased on the previous year. Overall spending by foreign visitors amounted to £22.1 billion ($32 billion USD), which is 1% more than 2014.

Record numbers visiting English regions, London and Wales

The number of visits across the English regions, excluding London, reached a record for numbers and spend in 2015 with visits up 7% to 15.2 million, and spend up 4% to £7.5 billion ($10.9 billion USD).

Records were also set for the number of visits to London up 7% on 2014 at 18.6 million, the first time the capital has seen more than 18 million visits, with spending up 1% to a record £11.9 billion ($17.3 billion USD).

Visits to Wales grew 4% in 2015 to 970,000, the highest since 2009; with spend growing an even stronger 12% to a record £410 million ($654 million USD).

While global visits to Scotland fell 4% in 2015 to 2.6 million, visitor numbers were still well ahead of 2013 following strong growth in 2014 and US visitor numbers remained some 4% higher than the average of all other inbound markets. Over one in ten American travelers to Britain visited Scotland.

"Our tourism industry is world-class and these impressive figures show that our nations and regions are increasingly benefitting from this thriving sector," said Tourism Minister David Evennett.

Other new data out from the Office for National Statistics show that the first three months of 2016 have set a record for inbound visits to the UK. The figures show visits from January to March were up 6% on the same period last year to 7.36 million, with visitors spending £3.64 billion ($5.2 billion USD). Inbound tourism is worth more £26 billion ($37billion USD) to the UK economy.


Notes to editors:

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

- Tourism is Britain's seventh largest export industry and third largest service sector.

- Follow us on Twitter @VisitBritain, Pinterest (Love GREAT Britain), Instagram: lovegreatbritain and Facebook: LoveGREATbritain

Further statistics on the numbers for the US and other markets can be found here:

Find more details about our Home of Amazing Moments campaign here

Our LGBT Love is Great Britain information is here

For more information contact:

VisitBritain Media Team

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