Compared with the same quarter a year ago, visits to the UK by overseas residents increased by 4.7% to 10.5 million in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015. The number of nights spent in the UK by overseas residents, also rose by 6.0%, but the estimated earnings from these visits fell by 3.8% to £7.1 billion.
Visits abroad by UK residents during quarter 3 2015 increased by 9.1% to 22.4 million compared with Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2014. The number of nights spent abroad by UK residents rose by 13.4% and expenditure during these visits increased by 13.6% to £14.4 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 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
the reported spend for visits includes any spending associated with the visit, which may occur before, during or 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 1 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 about the quality of Overseas Travel and Tourism estimates (404.8 Kb Pdf)
International visits to the UK by overseas residents continued to rise in the third quarter (July to Sept) of 2015. An estimated 10.5 million visits were made in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, this was an increase of 4.7% when compared with 10.0 million visits made during the same period in 2014.
“Holiday Visits” were the most popular reason for overseas resident's visits to the UK in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, with 4.4 million holiday visits to the UK. The number of visits has remained relatively stable from Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2014.
Among all visits to the UK by overseas residents in quarter 3 of 2015 compared with the same quarter in 2014, visiting friends or relatives recorded the largest increase of 12.0% from a year earlier. Business visits also increased by 5.6%. Visiting friends and relatives saw the largest increase in visits from North American residents, increasing by 19.9%, compared with Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2014. For Europe this also rose by 11.8% while visits from “Other Countries” increased by 8.6%. Business visits also saw an increase from North America and Europe (5.8% and 6.5% respectively) but the number remained relatively stable from “Other Countries” (down 0.6%).
Visits from residents of Europe and North America rose by 2.6% and 11.8% respectively while “Other Countries” rose by 7.2% to 2.1 million.
Overall, an estimated total of 97.0 million nights were spent in the UK by overseas residents this quarter, an increase of 6.0% compared with Quarter 3 (July to Sept) in 2014. The number of nights spent in the UK by overseas visitors from North America increased by 11.7% while the number of nights spent by residents of Europe and “Other Countries” increased by 6.9% and 2.3% respectively in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015.
Overnight visits to London increased in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015 by 5.9% to 5.2 million, as did overnight visits to the rest of England, which saw an increase of 8.5%. However, overnight visits to Scotland decreased by 2.7%, as did overnight visits to Wales which were down by 2.7% when compared with the same period in 2014.
Estimated earnings from all visits to the UK fell by 3.8% from £7.4 billion (Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2014) to £7.1 billion (Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015). Spending by residents of “Other Countries” during their visit to the UK saw the biggest decrease in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, falling by 4.6% to £2.6 billion after seeing a large increase in the previous quarter. Spending by residents of Europe also fell by 3.6% and “North America” fell by 2.6% when compared with Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2014.
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UK residents made 22.4 million visits abroad in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, an increase of 9.1% when compared with the same quarter in 2014. Visits to North America saw the largest increase of 14.7% to 1.4 million whilst visits to Europe and “Other Countries” also increased by 8.6% and 9.6% respectively when compared with Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2014.
Holiday visits continue to be the main purpose for UK visits abroad. In Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, there were 15.7 million holiday visits, which was an increase of 8.0% compared with the same quarter a year ago. Visits to friends or relatives showed the biggest increase at 12.6% in this quarter followed by business visits with an increase of 10.3%.
In Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, UK residents spent 268.9 million nights abroad, this was an increase of 13.4% compared with Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2014. The rise in visits to North America is reflected in the increase in nights spent in North America by UK residents which increased 18% in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015. The number of nights that were spent in Europe in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015 saw an increase of 11.5% compared with Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2014, and nights spent in “Other Countries” saw an increase of 17.0% in this quarter.
UK residents spent £14.4 billion during visits abroad in Quarter 3 (July to Sept) 2015, an increase of 13.6% compared with £12.7 billion spent in the same period of 2014. Expenditure in Europe rose by 14.3% and spending in North America increased by 25.9% reflecting the increase in visits to North America. “Other countries” also rose by 4.3%.
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Further analysis of overseas travel and tourism trends are provided in the publications:
Monthly Overseas Travel and Tourism, latest publication October 2015 published in December 2015; next release November 2015 to be published on the 29 January 2016
Travel Trends, latest publication Travel Trends 2014 published May 20 2015, next publication Travel Trends 2015 to be published spring 2016. This publication provides more detailed analysis of visits and spending, including analysis by demographics, towns in the UK visited and countries visited by residents of different parts of the UK
Travelpac is a data set which allows users to conduct their own analysis of quarterly and annual data on main variables. The datasets are provided in SPSS and Excel, latest publication Travelpac Quarter 3 (July to September) 2015 published 21 January 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 IPS revisions policy is available in the Quality and Methodology Information (350.4 Kb Pdf)
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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