1. Main points
There were 3.0 million visits to the UK by overseas visitors in June 2022; an increase from 2.8 million visits in May 2022.
Visits by overseas visitors to the UK in June 2022 are still lower than pre-coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic levels, down 19% from 3.7 million in June 2019.
Overseas residents spent £2.7 billion in the UK in June 2022.
UK residents made 7.8 million visits overseas in June 2022; up 23% on the previous month.
UK residents' visits overseas in June 2022 were lower than in June 2019, when there were 9.1 million visits overseas by UK residents (15% decrease).
UK residents spent £6.2 billion while overseas in June 2022.
The estimates provided for 2022 should be treated with caution as the numbers are smaller than those from pre-coronavirus years. The data exclude the Eurotunnel as the Office for National Statistics (ONS) was unable to interview at this site. No estimates are included for any travel across the Irish border. Data for the first six months of 2021 are shown for air visits only.
2. Trends in visits to the UK by overseas residents
In June 2022, there were an estimated 3.0 million visits to the UK, an increase of 9% on the previous month.
Spending by overseas residents in June 2022 was estimated to be £2.7 billion, increasing by 24% from the previous month.
Since the start of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, travel to and from the UK was severely affected. As most travel restrictions are now lifted, it is worth looking at travel numbers from before the pandemic to see how the latest figures compare.
In June 2019, there were an estimated 3.7 million visits to the UK with an estimated spend of £2.7 billion. Visits in June 2022 were down by 19% on the 2019 figure but spending was up by 1%. Although there are fewer visits to the UK, visitors are spending more money while in the UK.
In May 2022, visitor numbers were down 20% on pre-pandemic levels compared with May 2019, while spending was also down by 5%. This follows similar trends in previous months, showing both that visitor numbers and spending are heading towards pre-pandemic levels, but spending is increasing at a faster rate.
Different trends were observed for different areas of the world in June 2022 when compared with the previous month. There was an increase of 45% in visits to the UK from North American residents (rising from 520,000 in May to 756, 000 in June). Visits from residents of "other countries" (countries outside Europe and North America) increased by 30% from 395,000 in May to 514,000. Visits by European residents decreased by 100,000 to 1.7 million.
Holidays are once again the main reason overseas residents visited the UK, with 1.3 million visits being made for this reason, 44% of the total. The next most common reason was visiting friends or relatives (1.0 million visits and 34% of the total).
Figure 1: Visits to the UK continue to rise towards pre-coronavirus pandemic levels
Overseas residents’ visits to the UK by month, January 2018 to June 2022
Source: Office for National Statistics – International Passenger Survey
Download this chart Figure 1: Visits to the UK continue to rise towards pre-coronavirus pandemic levelsImage .csv .xls
3. Trends in overseas visits by UK residents
June 2022 saw UK residents make 7.8 million visits overseas. This is a 23% increase on the previous month.
The amount of money UK residents spent in June was £6.2 billion, up by 24% on May 2022.
Such increases between the months of May and June were typical in the years before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as the summer holiday season begins.
There were 9.1 million overseas visits made by UK residents in June 2019 before the coronavirus pandemic. These visitors spent an estimated £6.1 billion. In June 2022, visits were 15% down on these numbers but spending increased by 1%.
The increasing number of visits both by overseas and UK residents suggests that travelling is gradually returning to pre-pandemic levels with more money being spent during these visits.
There were 6.6 million visits to European countries in June 2022, an increase of 32% when compared with the previous month. There were 879,000 visits to "other countries" (countries outside North America and Europe), which was a decrease of 9%, and visits to North America decreased by 18% to 305,000.
The most common reason for UK residents travelling overseas was going on holiday with 72% (5.6 million) of visits being made for this reason. After going on holiday, visiting friends or family was the next most common reason for travel. There were 1.5 million visits made for this reason in June 2022.
Figure 2: The number of UK residents' visits abroad continues to rise as the summer holiday season begins
UK residents’ visits overseas by month, January 2018 to June 2022
Source: Office for National Statistics – International Passenger Survey
- The monthly figures for the first two quarters of 2021 (Jan to June) do not match the total quarterly figures as these estimates exclude visits and spend for sea travel.
Download this chart Figure 2: The number of UK residents' visits abroad continues to rise as the summer holiday season beginsImage .csv .xls
4. Overseas travel and tourism data
Overseas travel and tourism monthly
Dataset | Released 7 November 2022
Seasonally and non-seasonally adjusted estimates of completed international visits to and from the UK.
Overseas travel and tourism time series
Dataset | Released 7 November 2022
Seasonally and non-seasonally adjusted estimates of completed international visits to and from the UK. Based on International Passenger Survey data.
The figures relate to the number of completed visits, not the number of visitors. Anyone entering or leaving more than once in the same period is counted on each visit.
Trips that do not involve an overnight stay abroad by UK residents, as well as day trips to the UK by overseas residents, are included in the total figures for visits and expenditure. However, figures presented at lower levels of geography relate to overnight stays only.
A person who, being permanently resident in a country outside the UK, visits the UK for a period of less than 12 months. UK citizens who are resident overseas for 12 months or more coming home on leave are included in this category. Visits abroad are visits for a period of less than 12 months by people permanently resident in the UK (who may be of foreign nationality).
Visiting multiple countries
When a resident of the UK has visited more than one country, expenditure and stay are allocated to the country stayed in for the longest time.
Visits for miscellaneous purposes include those for study, to attend sporting events, for shopping, health, religious, or for other purposes, together with visits for more than one purpose, where none predominates (for example, visits both on business and on holiday). Overseas visitors staying overnight in the UK on their way to other destinations are also included in miscellaneous purposes.
Earnings and expenditure
Earnings refer to spending in the UK by overseas residents, and expenditure refers to spending abroad by UK residents.Back to table of contents
6. Measuring the data
International Passenger Survey (IPS) data are collected by a team of over 200 interviewers who are recruited and trained specifically to work on the IPS. They carry out interviews at air and sea ports, on board vessels leaving or returning to the UK, or on board the Eurotunnel Trains. Interviews are carried out on all days of the year, apart from Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.
We have made methodological improvements to the travel and tourism estimates from the IPS. These relate to the survey's weighting process and were used to produce the data presented in this bulletin. The improvements were introduced in our Travel trends: 2019 article and are described in Section 5: Improved methodology for the estimates. A detailed technical paper will be published in due course, comprehensively setting out the changes. These changes affect only travel and tourism and not estimates of long-term international migration.
The new method was used to produce final results for 2019 and a revised series for 2009 to 2018. The effects of the new method, and how these differ from the old, are presented in Section 6: Impacts of the new IPS methodology, in our Travel trends: 2019 article.Back to table of contents
7. Data sources and quality
Methods used to produce these estimates
Apart from the time when the survey was not running (16 March 2020 to 18 January 2021), figures shown are produced from results of the International Passenger Survey (IPS). These results do not include any travel via the Eurotunnel vehicle trains, as the trains were isolated, and no interviewing could take place. It was also not possible to obtain any survey results from Dover to France until August 2021. It should be noted that there was very little travel-related traffic at that time. Results for when the survey was not operating were limited to totals, and the method used can be found in Section 6 of our Overseas travel and tourism, provisional: April to June 2020 bulletin. Although traffic volumes have increased during 2021, figures should be treated with caution. This is because the numbers are much smaller than in the past and are subject to higher sampling errors than previous estimates released.
Accuracy of the IPS estimates
Estimates produced from the IPS are subject to sampling errors because not every traveller to or from the UK is interviewed on the survey. Sampling errors are determined both by the sample design and by the sample size. Generally speaking, the larger the sample supporting a particular estimate, the proportionately smaller is its sampling error. The survey sample size in 2021 is much smaller than in previous years because of the travel restrictions resulting from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The estimates presented in this article for the whole of 2020 must be treated with particular caution, since the methods used have not been fully scrutinised or tested.
The estimates presented in this article make the best use of the available data and methods to produce estimates of international visits and spending. However, as noted, the numbers are small, and the results should be treated with caution.
The accuracy of the estimates is expressed in terms of confidence intervals. For more information on how we measure and communicate uncertainty for our surveys, see our Uncertainty and how we measure it web page.
The following guidelines are provided to aid in the interpretation of the estimates, and to enable their reliability to be assessed:
confidence interval below 10%: precise
confidence interval between 10% and 20%: reasonably precise
confidence interval between 20% and 40%: acceptable
confidence interval over 40%: unreliable (these estimates should be used with caution for practical purposes)
Table 1 shows the 95% confidence intervals for the estimates of the total number of visits and expenditure for both overseas residents visiting the UK and UK residents going abroad.
(+/- % of the estimate)
|Visits to UK by overseas|
|Earnings from visits to|
UK (£ million)
|Visits abroad by|
UK residents (thousands)
|Expenditure on visits|
abroad (£ million)
Download this table Table 1: Confidence intervals relating to overseas travel and tourism estimates, June 2022.xls .csv
9. Cite this statistical bulletin
Office for National Statistics (ONS), released 7 November 2022, ONS website, statistical bulletin, Overseas travel and tourism: June 2022 provisional results
Contact details for this Statistical bulletin
Telephone: +44 1633 455270