1. Introduction

The International Passenger Survey (IPS) collects information about passengers entering and leaving the UK, and has been running continuously since 1961. The IPS conducts between 700,000 and 800,000 interviews a year, of which over 250,000 are used to produce estimates of overseas travel and tourism. The study results are used by various government departments, including the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the Department for Transport, the Home Office, HM Revenue and Customs, VisitBritain and the national and regional Tourist Boards.

This study was resumed in January 2021 after being suspended since March 2020 because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Find out how our studies and surveys are serving public need in our statement.

Back to table of contents

2. How will the information I have provided be used?

The results are primarily used to measure the impact of travel expenditure on the UK economy and provide information about international tourism and how it has changed over time.

Since being resumed in January 2021, this study now also investigates passengers' experiences and attitudes relating to COVID-19.

Examples of the statistics produced from the International Passenger Study are available on the Leisure and tourism page.

Back to table of contents

3. Who carries out the study?

The study is conducted by Office for National Statistics, the government's largest producer of statistics. We compile independent information about the UK's society and economy, which provides evidence for policy- and decision-making, and for directing resources to where they are needed most.

The 10-yearly census for England and Wales, measures of inflation, the national accounts and population and migration statistics are some of our highest-profile outputs.

Back to table of contents

4. Is the study confidential?

Yes, UK legislation allows us to collect and process your data to produce statistics for the public good.

Your information will be treated as confidential as directed by the Code of Practice for Statistics. It will only be held for as long as it is being used for producing statistics. The statistics produced will not identify you or anyone in your household.

Survey information is also provided to other government departments, approved organisations and approved researchers for statistical purposes only. Details on who can access this information can be found on the approved organisations and government departments page and the approved researchers page. All statistics produced will be subject to the Code and the same standards of protection will be applied to your data at all times.

Back to table of contents

5. Why was I selected?

We select passengers from all major airports and sea routes, at Eurostar terminals and on Eurotunnel shuttle trains.

Back to table of contents

6. What is the ONS’s responsibility to the public?

You can read about the commitments ONS makes to those taking part in its studies in our ONS Respondent charter for surveys of households and individuals.

Back to table of contents

7. Who can I contact for further information?

If you have any queries having taken part in the study, please contact us on 0800 298 5313. The opening times for the phone line are:

  • 9am to 6pm Monday to Friday

  • 9am to 1pm Saturday

We'd appreciate your suggestions on how we can improve this or any of our studies. It would also be great to hear from you if you're happy with the service you've received.

You can email us at surveyfeedback@ons.gov.uk.

Back to table of contents