Compared with the same quarter a year ago, visits to the UK by overseas residents increased by 7.7% to 7.5 million in Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar) 2016. The number of nights spent in the UK by overseas residents also rose by 5.9%, but the estimated earnings from these visits fell by 2.2% to £3.7 billion.
Visits abroad by UK residents during Quarter 1 2016 increased by 9.8% to 12.9 million compared with quarter 1, 2015. The number of nights spent abroad by UK residents rose by 6.0%, and expenditure during these visits increased by 8.4% to £7.6 billion.Back to table of contents
Overseas travel and tourism quarterly estimates are revised during the processing of the annual dataset. The most up-to-date and accurate estimates for the previous year’s published quarters can be found in the latest edition of Travel Trends.
The UK Statistics Authority has designated these statistics as National Statistics, in accordance with the Statistics and Registration Service Act 2007 and signifying compliance with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics.
Designation can be broadly interpreted to mean that the statistics:
meet identified user needs
are well explained and readily accessible
are produced according to sound methods
are managed impartially and objectively in the public interest
Once statistics have been designated as National Statistics it is a statutory requirement that the Code of Practice shall continue to be observed.
Further information about the estimates:
the sample profile and responses are calibrated to international passenger traffic for the reporting period
estimates are based on interviews conducted when passengers end their visit; therefore any visits commencing in the reported quarter but not completed until later are not included in estimates for the reported quarter
spending associated with visits includes anything spent before, during and after the trip
in January 2015, the methodology for treating outliers was improved; for further information please contact the IPS team.
parts of the report refer to countries visited abroad; it should be noted that if a UK resident visited more than one country on a trip abroad, the country recorded as visited in this publication is the country that was visited for the longest period.
estimates are subject to sampling error, and confidence intervals are provided to help readers interpret the estimates (see Background note: Accuracy of IPS estimates); further guidance is provided in Overseas Travel and Tourism estimates
International visits to the UK by overseas residents continued to rise in the first quarter of 2016. An estimated 7.5 million visits were made in Quarter 1 2016: an increase of 7.7% when compared with 6.9 million visits made during the same period in 2015.
Visits to friends or relatives was the most popular reason for overseas residents visits to the UK in Quarter 1 2016 with 2.5 million visits to the UK: an increase of 13.1% when compared with Quarter 1 2015.
Among all other purposes of visit to the UK by overseas residents in Quarter 1 of 2016, holiday visits recorded the largest increase, of 6.5%, from a year earlier. Business visits increased by 4.7%. Visits from residents of Europe to friends or relatives saw the largest increase, up by 16.5%, while visits from ‘other countries’ for the same purpose increased by 9.0%. Business visits also saw increases from residents of North America and Europe (1.0% and 6.5% respectively) but the number fell from residents of ‘other countries’ (down 10.0%).
Total visits from residents of Europe and North America rose by 9.8% and 5.7% respectively while ‘other countries’ fell by 2.5% to 0.9 million.
Overall, an estimated total of 50.5 million nights were spent in the UK by overseas residents this quarter, an increase of 5.9% compared with Quarter 1 in 2015. The number of nights spent in the UK by overseas visitors from North America increased by 7.6% and those from residents of Europe increased by 9.4% while the number of nights spent by residents of ‘other countries’ fell by 2.7% in Quarter 1 2016.
Overnight visits to London increased in Quarter 1 2016 by 7.1% to 3.8 million, as did overnight visits to the rest of England which saw an increase of 9.0%. Overnight visits to both Scotland and Wales also rose, up 26.9% and 5.4% respectively when compared with the same period in 2015.
Estimated earnings from all visits to the UK fell by 2.2% from £3.8 billion (Quarter 1 2015) to £3.7 billion (Quarter 1 2016). Spending by residents of ‘other countries’ during their visits to the UK saw the biggest decrease in Quarter 1 2016, falling by 16.0% to £1.1 billion. Spending by residents of Europe and “North America” increased by 5.2% and 2.7% when compared to Quarter 1 2015.
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UK residents made 12.9 million visits abroad in Quarter 1 2016, an increase of 9.8% when compared with the same quarter in 2015. Visits to North America saw the largest increase of 15.0% to 0.7 million while visits to Europe also increased by 13.3%, however visits to ‘other countries’ fell by 2.9% when compared to quarter 1 2015.
Holiday visits continue to be the most common purpose for UK visits abroad. In Quarter 1 2016, there were 7.2 million holidays, an increase of 10.1% compared with the same quarter a year ago. Visits to friends or relatives showed the biggest increase, 11.4% in this quarter, while business visits increased by 6.3%.
In Quarter 1 2016 UK residents spent 133.2 million nights abroad, an increase of 6.0% compared with Quarter 1 2015. The rise in visits to North America is reflected in the increase in nights spent in North America by UK residents which increased 2.5% in Quarter 1 2016. The number of nights that were spent in Europe in Quarter 1 2016 saw an increase of 10.3% compared with Quarter 1 2015, and nights spent in ‘other countries’ saw an increase of 1.5% in this quarter.
UK residents spent £7.6 billion during visits abroad in Quarter 1 2016, an increase of 8.4% compared with £7.0 billion spent in the same period in 2015. Expenditure in Europe rose by 13.8%, and spending in North America increased by 9.7% reflecting the increase in visits to this region.
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Further analysis of overseas travel and tourism trends are provided in the publications:
Monthly Overseas Travel and Tourism, latest release April 2016 (published in June 2016); next release May 2016 (to be published 22 July 2016.
Travel Trends, provides more detailed analysis of visits and spending, including analysis by demographics, towns in the UK visited and countries visited by residents or different parts of the UK. Latest release Travel Trends 2015 (published May 20 2016); next release Travel Trends 2016 (to be published spring 2017).
Travelpac is a data set that allows users to conduct their own analysis of quarterly and annual data on important variables. The datasets are provided in SPSS and Excel. Latest release Travelpac Quarter 1 published 14 July 2016.
Note that estimates are subject to revision between the monthly statistical bulletin and the quarterly publication and again when Travel Trends is published. Revisions result from more accurate passenger figures being made available. More information about the International Passenger Survey (IPS) revisions policy is available in the Quality and Methodology Information.
Note that, although data by the International Passenger Survey (IPS) also feeds into the calculation of migration statistics, the Overseas Travel and Tourism publications do not provide any information relating to International migration.
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