Latest monthly data

The latest available monthly data from the International Passenger Survey is available below. This shows the volume and value of visits to the UK by overseas residents for the most recent month and quarter.

Please be advised that January 2019 data is due for release on 09 May 2019.  We will update this page as soon as we have the data. This page currently shows the provisional 2018 monthly results - for the provisional quarterly 2018 results up to September 2018, please see this page.

The survey is run by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) – monthly data is generally available 7 weeks after the end of each month and quarterly data is generally available 4 months after the close of each quarter. For publication dates and more information, please see about the International Passenger Survey.

Inbound visitor statistics for December 2018

Visits and spend figures

  December 2018

Last 3 months (Oct - Dec 18)

    % change vs Dec 17   % change vs Oct - Dec 17
All visits (000) 2,850 9% 9,120 2%
Spend (£m) £1,680 8% £5,260 0%
  Provisional 2018 (Jan - Dec 18) Benchmark to best ever rolling 12 months
    % change vs Jan - Dec 17 When Record Current deficit
Total visits (000) 37,800 -4% Sep 16 - Aug 17 39,730 -1,930
Spend (£m) £22,720 -7% Dec 16 - Nov 17 £24,740 -2,020
  • Visits: The UK welcomed 2.9 million overseas visits in December 2018, up 9% compared to December 2017. This was only the second month of 2018 where monthly results were up on the same month in 2017. There were 9.1 million inbound visits to the UK between October and December 2018, up 2% on the same period in 2017. Despite this positive Q4 result, overseas visits to the UK in 2018 were 4% behind 2017 results with 37.8 million visits.
  • Spending: In December 2018 inbound visitors spent £1.7 billion - 8% more than they did in December 2017. Between October and December 2018 visitors spent a total of £5.3 billion, on par with last 3 months of 2017. As with visits, these positive Q4 results were not quite enough to offset the year on year monthly declines posted earlier in the year. In 2018, visitors to the UK spent a total £22.7 billion, 7% lower compared to the record set in 2017.

Visits by journey purpose

  December 2018

Last 3 months (Oct - Dec 18)

  Visits (000) % change vs Dec 17 Visits (000) % change vs Oct - Dec 17
Holiday 1,030 14% 3,360 10%
VFR 1,000 4% 2,940 0%
Business 580 6% 2,140 -3%
Miscellaneous 230 11% 670 -5%
  Provisional 2018 (Jan - Dec 18) Benchmark to best ever rolling 12 months
  Visits (000)

% change vs Jan - Dec 17

When Record (000) Current deficit (000)
Holiday 15,040 -2% Oct 16 - Sep 17 15,550 -510
VFR 11,690 -3% Jul 17 - Jun 18 12,100 -410
Business 8,500 -3% Feb 16 - Jan 17 9,290 -790
Miscellaneous 2,570 -16% Apr 07 - Mar 08 3,470 -900
  • Holiday visits were up 14% to a little over 1.0 million in December 2018, compared to December 2017.  This was the fourth consecutive month of month on month record breaking or equalling holiday visits.  Not surprisingly, holiday visits in the final quarter of 2018 were up 10% (a record 3.4 million).  Despite this strong finish to 2018, holiday visits for the year were down: there were 15.0 million inbound holiday visits to the UK in 2018, down 2% on the 2017 record.
  • Visits to friends and relatives (VFR) were up 4% year on year to 1.0 million visits in December 2018, not quite a new December record, but only the second December to record 1 million visits.  However, with a decline reported in November 2018, VFR visits in the last 3 months of 2018 were just on par with the same period of 2017.  Overall, VFR visits to the UK in 2018 were 3% below the record set in 2017 at 11.7 million visits.
  • Business visits rose by 6% in December 2018 compared to December 2017. However, after two months of year-on-year falls (October and November), there were a total of 2.1 million business visits from overseas in October – December 2018, 3% down on the final quarter of 2017. Half of the months in 2018 showed increases on 2017, but this was not enough to offset the scale of declines and as a result business visits were down 3% in 2018, compared to 2017.
  • Miscellaneous journey purpose visits are a combination of a wide range of different journey purposes, including (but not limited to) short term study, looking for work, shopping, attending a sports event and many more. Compared to the other journey purpose categories, miscellaneous visits represent a smaller proportion of inbound UK visits. In December 2018 there were 11% more visits to the UK for miscellaneous purposes than in December 2017. However, with growth in only four months of 2018, compared to the same respective months in 2017, visits for miscellaneous purposes in 2018 were 16% behind visits in 2017.  

Visits by global region

  December 2018

Last 3 months (Oct - Dec 18)

  Visits (000) % change
vs Dec 17
Visits (000) % change vs Oct  - Dec 17
EU Total 1,990 11% 6,180 3%
EU15 1,600 12% 4,980 4%
Other EU 380 6% 1,180 -1%
Rest of Europe 200 24% 650 -5%
North America 210 -18% 980 5%
Rest of World 450 7% 1,320 3%
  Provisional 2018 (Jan - Dec 18) Benchmark to best ever rolling 12 months
  Visits (000)

% change vs 

Jan - Dec 17

When Record (000) Current deficit (000)
EU Total 24,710 -3% Oct 16 - Sep 17 26,280 -1,570
EU15 19,890 -4% May 16 - Apr 17 21,450 -1,560
Other EU 4,800 -1% Oct 16 - Sep 17 5,030 -230
Rest of Europe 2,240

-12%

Jan 16 - Dec 17 2,550 -310
North America 4,750 0% Jan 00 - Dec 00 4,870 -120
Rest of World 6,100 -4% Dec 16 - Nov 17 6,370 -270
  • There were almost 2 million visits to the UK from all EU markets  in December 2018, up 11% on December 2017.  This late surge in visits was enough to offset the decline reported in November and we saw visits in the last quarter of 2017 up 3% compared to the final quarter of 2017. With 24.7 million visits from the EU, in 2018 visits are provisionally down 3% on the record set in 2017.
  • Visits to the UK from the EU15 markets followed a very similar trend. There were 1.6 million visits to the UK in December 2018, up 12% on December 2017. Between October – December 2018 visits were 4% up on the final quarter of 2017 – thanks to the strong December results. The combined EU15 markets are an important inbound market for the UK but with 19.9 million visits from these markets in 2018, this is below (4%) the levels seen in 2017.
  • Visits from all Other EU markets to the UK in 2018 fluctuated on a month by month basis, compared to 2017.  While December posted a positive 6% rise in visits on December 2017; visits in the final quarter of 2018 and over the whole of 2018 are provisionally down 1%.
  • Visits to the UK from the Rest of Europe jumped 24% year-on-year in December 2018 to a record 200,000 visits. However with depressed or flat results in every other month of 2018, visits for all of 2018 are reporting a 12% decline, compared to 2017. 
  • There were 210,000 visits from North America in December 2018, 18% lower than December 2017. With strong October results, visits for the final quarter of 2018 (October-December) finished 5% up on Q4 2017.  For all of 2018, visits from North America to the UK were on par with the levels seen in 2017, though these are not quite enough to set a new record – set in 2000.
  • ‘Rest of World’ markets saw a 7% rise in visits in December 2018, compared to the same month of 2018. Combined with strong November 2018 results, visits in the final quarter of 2018 were at a record 1.3 million. However, the rise in visits towards the end of 2018, was not enough to compensate for the declines seen earlier in 2018 - provisional results for 2018 show a 4% decline, compared to the record set in 2017.

Explore the quarterly data or read more on the December 2018 results (PDF, 715KB).