About the International Passenger Survey

The International Passenger Survey (IPS) is a continuous survey carried out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).  It covers all major air, sea and tunnel ports, providing detailed information on the numbers and types of visits made by people travelling to and from the UK.

From 22 May we will be working to update all of the data and documents on this page following the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revision of the International Passenger Survey (IPS) data for 2009-2018 and the released detailed 2019 data. Please be patient as we update these pages or contact the VisitBritain research team if you have any questions- VB/VEResearch@visitbritain.org. Thank you.

The Office for National Statistics released the final International Passenger Survey (IPS) results covering 2019 on 22 May 2020. 

As part of that data release, the ONS revised inbound (and outbound) tourism data from 2009-2018. Data was significantly revised for some countries of residence, and to some degree for all countries; the total volume/value of tourism has also been revised upwards. More information is available on the ONS website or by contacting the VisitBritain Research Team.  We have summarised some key changes in a What's Changed document (PDF, 775KB). Published 22 May 2020. 

Data is published regularly by ONS on a monthly, quarterly and annual basis. Anonymous face-to-face interviews are undertaken with a random sample of passengers as they enter or leave the UK. Approximately 95 per cent of passengers entering and leaving the UK have a chance of being sampled on the survey.

We analyse the data on visits to the UK by overseas residents. Take a look at our markets, quarterly data and regions to view the data.

Each year VisitBritain sponsors questions on the International Passenger Survey to understand more about visitors to the UK. Find out what questions we have sponsored and are sponsoring in the future (XLS, 180KB).

If you would like more information on the survey, please view our frequently asked questions (PDF, 265KB), download our guide on IPS Methodology (PDF, 637KB) to understand how the survey is administered and how national estimates are produced from the sample and take a look at how world regions and countries (XLS, 16KB) are defined.

Alternatively, further details about the survey can be found on the ONS website.

If you are looking for information about inbound tourism to countries other than the UK, possible sources include the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and, particularly for European data, TourMIS.