Dive into adventure with these 6 tour companies that are similar to Contiki.Read more…
UK tourism statistics
How many people visit the UK? What are the most popular tourist attractions? Find out the latest inbound tourism statistics to the UK here.
From the rolling countryside to Buckingham Palace, there’s plenty to see and do in the UK, so it’s no surprise that the UK made it into the top 10 for most international tourist arrivals in 2019.
If you’re planning on visiting the UK, check out our guides on how best to cover yourself while exploring the country.
The number of overseas visitors to the UK: The impact of COVID-19
During the 19-year period from 2002 to 2020, the number of people visiting the UK has gradually increased. The highest number of visitors to the UK in one year was 41.1 million in 2017, meaning the number of visitors was almost two-thirds of the whole population of the UK. Overall, there has been a 69% increase in visitors to the UK, from 24.2 million in 2002 to 40.9 million in 2019.
However, the coronavirus pandemic has brought a shock to the travel industry with travel bans and lockdowns being imposed all around the world. As a result, there were only 11.1 million visitors to the UK in 2020, representing a decrease of almost 73% from 2019.
What are the reasons people visit the UK?
In 2019, with 16.9 million (41%) coming on holiday to the UK, this was the top reason internationals visited the UK. The next top reason was to visit friends or relatives (12.4 million, 30%), followed by people visiting on business (8.7 million, 21%).
|Purpose||Number of visits (million)||Percentage|
|Visiting friends or relatives||12.43 million||21.00%|
The top tourist countries by visits
Tourists from the United States have contributed the most to the UK’s travel market, both by the number of visitors and amount spent while visiting. In 2018, 4.5 million American tourists visited the UK. French tourists were the second most common, with 3.7 million visiting the UK, followed by Germans (3.3 million), Irish (2.8 million) and Spanish (2.5 million) tourists.
The most popular cities to visit in the UK
It comes as no surprise that London is the most popular city, with 21.7 million international visitors. London had over nine times the number of visitors in 2019 than the next most visited city, Edinburgh (2.2 million). Following the Scottish capital, other large cities like Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool were the next most popular destinations to visit. These three cities had an average of 1.2 million visitors each.
The most popular attractions in London
The sizes of the names below represent how many visits each attraction had in 2019, with the British Museum being the most popular attraction (6.2 million visitors). Following closely is the Tate modern with 6.1 million visitors and the National Gallery with 6 million visitors. With the top seven attractions in London being museums and galleries, it’s clear that visitors are keen to learn while in the UK’s most popular city.
Cultural products associated with the UK
With almost half (47%) of all respondents saying they associate the UK with museums and with museums also being the most popular type of attraction in London, it’s likely that international visitors would treat a visit to the UK as an educational trip.
Following museums, an average of 38% of respondents considered music, films and sport to be closely associated with the UK.
Click here for more research. For all media enquiries, please contact:
Surprise yourself with savings on mystery hotel stays.Read more…
Get a discount on your next Vrbo booking with these tested and verified Vrbo discount codes and promos.Read more…
See if you can get your next Alamo car rental for less with our hand-tested voucher and promo codes.Read more…
Here’s what you should know about travelling to Indonesia from the United Kingdom.Read more…
Here’s what you should know about travelling to Canada from the United Kingdom.Read more…
More guides on Finder
7 tour companies like Contiki for epic adventures
Dive into adventure with these 6 tour companies that are similar to Contiki.
6 sites offering mystery hotels where you can save up to 60%
Surprise yourself with savings on mystery hotel stays.
Vrbo discount codes and promos for June 2022
Get a discount on your next Vrbo booking with these tested and verified Vrbo discount codes and promos.
Alamo discount codes and promos June 2022
See if you can get your next Alamo car rental for less with our hand-tested voucher and promo codes.
COVID-19 tests when visiting Indonesia from England
Here’s what you should know about travelling to Indonesia from the United Kingdom.
COVID-19 tests when visiting Canada from England
Here’s what you should know about travelling to Canada from the United Kingdom.
Finder’s Travel Index
Finder’s Travel Index is an ongoing series of surveys conducted in 12 countries to get a beat on the global travel pulse.
Gatwick Airport Parking discount codes and promos June 2022
See if you can get your next Gatwick Airport Parking order for less with our hand-tested voucher and promo codes.
Top 10 stag do destinations
No one has to know what happens at the stag party. Kick back and relax or go wild and party all night at any of these awesome destinations.
Best Airbnb stays for winter 2022
Are you on the lookout for a cosy little coastal cottage? Or what about a lakeside log cabin? We’ve got just the thing thanks to Airbnb.
Ask an Expert