Business travel statistics: Trips to the UK and abroad

Learn about the UK’s business trips overseas and how many people travel here for business.

People make business trips to and from the UK all the time, whether it’s residents travelling abroad or people from overseas coming here for meetings. We look at the latest statistics on business travel, including number of visits and total spending. If you travel for work, you can also find out how business credit cards can offer rewards and points.

Business travel statistics: Highlights

  • 5.15 million business trips were made to the UK in 2022, 16.5% of all trips to the UK.
  • UK residents made 4.82 business trips abroad in 2022, 7% of all trips overseas.
  • UK residents spent £5.16 billion abroad on business trips in 2022.
  • The average business length of a business trip abroad from the UK is 5.7 days.
  • An average of £1,070 was spent per UK business trip abroad in 2022, £187 a day.

How many people travel abroad for business trips?

People from the UK made 4.82 million business trips abroad in 2022, which makes up 7% of all UK residents’ visits overseas. This is up significantly from 2021, when just 1.38 million trips were made due to travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic. Fewer trips were also made in 2020, with just 2.47 million recorded.

Before the pandemic, however, many more business trips were being made abroad. For example, a hefty 9.3 million trips happened in 2018, followed by 8.98 million in 2019, the year before the coronavirus pandemic.

Between 2001 and 2019, the average number of business trips per year was 8.6 million. This figure is almost double the number of business trips abroad seen in 2022.

An increasing number of businesses carry out meetings via video calls and online communication, so it’s still unclear whether business travel from the UK will return to its previous highs.

Year Business trips abroad by UK residents (millions)
2001 8.22
2002 8.07
2003 7.89
2004 8.14
2005 8.56
2006 9.1
2007 9.02
2008 8.92
2009 7.7
2010 8.24
2011 8.63
2012 8.7
2013 8.64
2014 8.72
2015 9.04
2016 8.76
2017 8.8
2018 9.3
2019 8.98
2020 2.34
2021 1.38
2022 4.82

How many people travel to the UK for business trips?

5.15 million business trips were made to the UK from overseas in 2022, which makes up 16.5% of all overseas residents’ visits to the UK. This figure has increased from 1.22 million trips in 2021, during a period of COVID-19 restrictions.

In the years before the pandemic, a high number of business trips were made to the UK, including 9.4 million in 2016, 9 million in 2017, 8.79 million in 2018 and 8.67 million in 2019. Between 2001 and 2019, the average number of business trips per year was 8.06 million.

Year Business trips abroad by UK residents (millions)
2001 6.78
2002 7.16
2003 6.97
2004 7.47
2005 8.17
2006 9.02
2007 8.85
2008 8.12
2009 6.9
2010 7
2011 7.58
2012 7.72
2013 8.11
2014 8.5
2015 8.98
2016 9.4
2017 9
2018 8.79
2019 8.67
2020 2.47
2021 1.22
2022 5.15

What is the average length of a business trip abroad?

The average length of a business trip abroad in 2022 was 5.7 days, according to our calculations. This is across all parts of the world, although the length of a trip is likely to vary depending on how far the destination is from the UK.

How much do companies spend on business travel?

The average spend on a business trip abroad by a UK resident was £1,070 in 2022. Given the average stay was 5.7 days, this works out to be £187 a day spent on a typical business trip. Again, spending likely varies depending on the location and local prices!

Overall, a whopping £5.16 billion was spent on business trips abroad from the UK in 2022. This is up significantly from £1.52 billion in 2021 but down from £6.26 billion in 2019, before the coronavirus pandemic.

Year Spending (billions £)
2018 6.86
2019 6.26
2020 n/a
2021 1.52
2022 5.16

When it comes to the different areas of the world, UK residents spend the most on business trips to Europe in 2022, with an expenditure of £2.83 billion. This area is followed by North America, with the total spend on business trips at £1.17 billion, leaving the spending for the rest of the world at £1.15 billion.

Area Spending in 2022 (£ billions)
Europe 2.83
North America 1.17
Other countries 1.15

Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:

Matt Mckenna
UK communications manager
T: +44 20 8191 8806
matt.mckenna@finder.com@MichHutchison/in/matthewmckenna2

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