Latest monthly data

The latest available 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.

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 March 2016

Visits and spend figures

  March 2016 Year To Date (Jan - Mar 16)
    % change vs Mar 15   % change vs Jan-Mar 16
All visits (000) 2,570 6% 7,360 6%
Spend (£m) £1,280 -9% £3,640 -4%
  Rolling 12 months
(Apr 15-Mar 16)
Benchmark to best ever rolling 12 months
    % change vs Apr 14-Mar 15 When Record Current deficit
Total visits (000) 36,530 6% Apr 15-Mar 16 36,530 0
Spend (£m) £21,920 1% Jul 14-Jun 15 £22,113 -193

Visits: The UK recorded 2.57 million inbound visits during March 2016, 6% more than in March 2015.  Combining this strong result with the first two months of 2016, inbound UK visits in the first three months of 2016 were 6% higher than they were during the first three months of 2015 and setting a new record for this period of 7.36 million visits.  Growth is also a feature over the rolling twelve months to March 2016 – at 36.53 million visits this is the highest rolling twelve month result since records began.

Spending: Overseas visitors spent £1.28 billion in the UK during March 2016, down 9% against the current record holding March last year.  Over the first three months of 2016, visitor spending was also down – driven by weaker January and March results (compared to the same months of 2015).   Over the twelve months to March 2016, visitor spending was tracking just 1% above the levels recorded in the previous twelve month period, but this was just enough to secure a new rolling twelve month to March record.  It should be kept in mind that this data is provisional with the Office for National Statistics due to release revised Q1 data in July 2016.

Visits by journey purpose

  March 2016 Last 3 months (Jan-Mar 16)
  Visits (000) % change vs Mar 15 Visits (000) % change vs Jan-Mar 15
Holiday 870 2% 2,260 5%
VFR 740 9% 2,460 12%
Business 790 15% 2,100 2%
Miscellaneous 170 -19% 550 2%
  Rolling 12 months
(Apr 15-Mar 16)
Benchmark to best ever rolling 12 months
  Visits (000)

% change vs Apr 14-Mar 15

When Record (000) Current deficit (000)
Holiday 13,960 3% Apr 15-Mar 16 13,960 0
VFR 10,710 9% Apr 15-Mar 16 10,710 0
Business 8,920 5% May 07-Apr 08 8,991 -71
Miscellaneous 2,950 9% Apr 07-Mar 08 3,466 -516

Holiday visits were up marginally by 2% in March 2016 compared to March 2015.  Over the first three months of 2016 there were 2.26 million inbound visits – 5% up on the same period last year and a record start to a calendar year.  There was a rolling twelve month record of 13.96 million holiday visits in the twelve months to March 2016.

Visits to friends and relatives (VFR) increased 9% in March 2016 compared to March 2015, with 0.74 million visits – the best March result in recent years.  VFR visits in the first three months of 2016 were 12% higher than the levels welcomed at the start of 2015.  There were 9% more visits in the twelve months to March 2016, compared to the previous twelve month period, setting a new rolling twelve month record of 10.71 million visits. 

During March 2016, business visits posted strong positive results for the second consecutive month this year – up 15% compared to March 2015.  Business visits in the three months to March 2016 were up 2% compared to the same three months of the previous year.  Business results to the UK for the medium term period of the rolling twelve months from April 2015 were 5% above the previous twelve month period at 8.92 million.

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.  As a result monthly results tend to fluctuate.  Indeed, during March 2016 visits to the UK for miscellaneous purposes were 19% lower than March last year.  In the first three months of 2016 there were 0.55 million visits (2% more than the same period a year before).  Miscellaneous visits to the UK were tracking 9% higher in the twelve months from April 2015 than during the previous twelve month period.

Visits by global region

  March 2016 Last 3 months (Jan-Mar 16)
  Visits (000) % change
vs Mar 15
Visits (000) % change vs Jan-Mar 15
EU15 1,500 1% 4,210 6%
Other EU 390 31% 1,060 12%
Rest of Europe 160 1% 470 3%
North America 250 12% 650 7%
Rest of World 270 -2% 970 0%
  Rolling 12 months
(Apr 15-Mar 16)
Benchmark to best ever rolling 12 months
  Visits (000) % change vs Apr 14-Mar 15 When Record (000) Current deficit (000)
EU15 20,220 4% Apr 15-Mar 16 20,220 0
Other EU 4,350 18% Apr 15-Mar 16 4,350 0
Rest of Europe 2,280 -5% Feb 14-Jan 15 2,442 -162
North America 4,020 10% Jan 00-Dec 00 4,869 -849
Rest of World 5,660 6% Feb 15-Jan 16 5,672 0

Visits from EU15 markets were up just 1% in March 2016 at 1.50 million.  Following recent strong results, visits from these high volume markets reached 4.21 million in the first three months of 2016 – a record three months to March.  There were similar results over the medium term period of the rolling twelve months to March from EU15 markets.  With 20.22 million visits to the UK, this is the strongest rolling twelve month period, on record.

Visits from Other EU markets have reported the overall strongest growth.  During March 2016 there were 0.39 million visits, 31% more than in March last year and not surprisingly setting a new March record.  During the first three months of 2016 there were 1.06 million visits to the UK from combined Other EU markets - the first time 1 million visits has been reached during the first three months of any calendar year on record.  In the twelve months from April 2015, visits to the UK from these markets were 4.35 million, 18% higher than the twelve months to March 2015, the best ever rolling twelve month period to March.

The Rest of Europe posted results in March 2016 which were in line with March last year.  Boosted by strong January 2016 results, visits to the UK from the Rest of Europe were up 3% between January and March 2016, compared to the start of 2015.  However over the medium term of the rolling twelve months to March 2016, visits were down 5% compared to the previous twelve month period.  The UK saw visit numbers from several individual markets in this region decline in 2015, compared to 2014, including Russia and Norway.

Visits to the UK from North America were up 12% in March 2016 at 0.25 million visits.  Combined visits from Canada and the USA were 7% higher in the first three months of 2016 and 10% up over the twelve months to March 2016 compared to the previous rolling twelve months.  While positive territory, these results still fall short of the record highs recorded in the first year of this millennium.

Rest of World was the only global region to report a decrease in visits to the UK during March 2016. Visits in the first three months of 2016 were on par with the start of 2015, but with particularly strong month on month results for the majority of 2015, Rest of World visits to the UK in the rolling twelve months to March 2016 visits were tracking 6% higher, compared to the previous twelve month period.

Explore the quarterly data or read more on the March 2016 results (PDF, 1.41MB).