Inbound food & drink research

Going out to eat, drink or socialise are very commonly part of holidays in Britain. 

VisitBritain research shows that whilst going out to eat or drink is not a key reason for coming to Britain, there is still strong interest in trying British food.  Through our sponsorship of specific questions in the International Passenger Survey (IPS) dining in restaurants has featured on the itinerary for 61% of our international visitors and going to pubs is ranked third.

In 2017, VisitBritain and DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs) commissioned some research to understand perceptions of Britain's food and drink amongst international travellers in eight markets: Germany, France, China, Japan, GCC, India, Australia and the USA.

  • 29% of respondents chose the UK when asked to rate counties on whether they offer 'attractive food and drink options to tourist'
  • 41% agree the 'British cusine is part of what attracts tourists to the UK'
  • 56% believe that Britain is a good place to try local specialities

The key findings of the research are in this report (PDF, 958KB). Published July 2017.

In 2015, VisitBritain included questions in the GfK Nations Brand Index to understand the appeal of trying British foods if on holiday in the UK.

 

Typical British dishes such as a 'Full English Breakfast' and our drinks and desserts generate a high level of interest amoung both those who have visited and also those who have yet to come.  In addition, we found that most visitors to Britain were likely to be satisfied with the food and drink they have experienced during their visit.  Read our report on How the world views Britain's food (PDF, 1.3 MB). Published September 2016.

With 45% of international visits in 2011 including at least one visit to a pub, this result underscores just how integral a part the pub plays in the experience of very many inbound visits.  Although we do not have information on how much was spent by those from overseas in pubs, the average amount spent by those whose itinerary includes a pub spend rather more than those who do not (£676 versus £503) in 2011.  The importance of the pub to inbound tourism (PDF, 1.4 MB). Published May 2012.  

In addition to specific research, VisitBritain and DEFRA identified six destinations from around the world to serve as best-in-class examples for Britain to further develop the UK's food and drink product.  Under the framework of 'food hubs' and their relevance to the UK case studies were completed on the offers from Flanders (Belgium), Nova Scotia (Canada), Catalonia and the Basque Country (Spain) and Melbourne and Tasmania (Australia). The case studies are insights into the best practice in the field of food and drink tourism development and can be downloaded here (PDF, 5MB). Published July 2017.