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 February 2016

Visits and spend figures

  February 2016 Last 3 months (Dec 15-Feb 16)
    % change vs Feb15   % change vs Dec 14-Feb 15
All visits (000) 2,250 8% 7,310 6%
Spend (£m) £1,080 6% £4,100 1%
  Rolling 12 months
(Mar 15-Feb 16)
Benchmark to best ever rolling 12 months
    % change vs Mar 14-Feb 15 When Record Current deficit
Total visits (000) 36,110 5% Mar 15-Feb 16 36,110 0
Spend (£m) £21,820 1% Jul 14-Jun 15 £22,025 -205

Visits: The UK recorded 2.25 million inbound visits during February 2016, 8% more than in February 2015 and a new February record (although it should be kept in mind 2016 is a leap year).  Combining this strong result with January 2016 and December 2015, UK visits in the last three months were 6% higher than the same three months a year earlier.  Growth is also a feature over the rolling twelve months to February 2016 – at 36.10 million visits this is the highest rolling twelve month result since records began.

Spending: Overseas visitors spent £1.08 billion while in the UK during February 2016, 6% more than in February 2015.  Over the medium term periods of the three and twelve months to February 2016, visitor spending was tracking just above (1%) the levels recorded in the previous periods.  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

  February 2016 Last 3 months (Dec 15-Feb 16)
  Visits (000) % change vs Feb 15 Visits (000) % change vs Dec 14-Feb 15
Holiday 640 1% 2,170 8%
VFR 700 13% 2,550 11%
Business 750 12% 1,930 -3%
Miscellaneous 170 7% 670 14%
  Rolling 12 months
(Mar 15-Feb 16)
Benchmark to best ever rolling 12 months
  Visits (000)

% change vs Mar 14-Feb 15

When Record (000) Current deficit (000)
Holiday 13,800 3% Mar 15-Feb 16 13,800 0
VFR 10,660 9% Mar 15-Feb 16 10,600 0
Business 8,700 3% May 07-Apr 08 8,991 -291
Miscellaneous 2,970 9% Apr 07-Mar 08 3,466 -496

Holiday visits were up slightly by 1% in February 2016 compared to February 2015.  Over the medium term of the three months between December 2015 and February 2016 there were 2.17 million inbound visits – 8% up on the same period last year and a record for this three month period.  There was a rolling twelve month record of 13.80 million holiday visits in the twelve months to February 2016.

Visits to friends and relatives (VFR) increased 13% in February 2016 compared to February 2015, with 0.70 million visits – although impressive growth this was not quite enough to secure a new February record.  VFR visits in the three months to February 2016 were 11% higher than the levels welcomed in the three months between December 2014 and February 2015.  In addition, there were 9% more visits in the twelve months to February 2016, compared to the same time a year ago, setting a new rolling twelve month record of 10.66 million visits. 

During February 2016, business visits returned to positive territory posting a 12% increase compared to February 2015, securing an all-time February high.   Despite this strong result, business visits in the three months to February 2016 were down 3% compared to the same period of the previous year following weaker December 2015 and January 2016 results.  These monthly fluctuations were smoothed out in the results for the medium term period of the rolling twelve months from March 2015 where business visits to the UK were 3% above the previous twelve month period at 8.70 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 year on year.  In February 2016 visits to the UK for miscellaneous purposes were 7% up on February of the previous year at 0.17 million visits and in the three months to January 2016 were 0.67 million (14% more than the same period a year before).  Miscellaneous visits to the UK were tracking 9% higher in the twelve months from March 2015 than during the previous twelve month period.

Visits by global region

  February 2016 Last 3 months (Dec 15-Feb 16)
  Visits (000) % change
vs Feb 15
Visits (000) % change vs Dec 14-Feb 15
EU15 1,320 10% 4,160 8%
Other EU 360 17% 980 0%
Rest of Europe 140 -5% 470 -1%
North America 170 6% 620 10%
Rest of World 260 0% 1,070 16%
  Rolling 12 months
(Mar 15-Feb 16)
Benchmark to best ever rolling 12 months
  Visits (000) % change vs Mar 14-Feb 15 When Record (000) Current deficit (000)
EU15 20,130 4% Mar 15-Feb 16 20,130 0
Other EU 4,140 12% Mar 15-Feb 16 4,140 0
Rest of Europe 2,240 -8% Feb 14-Jan 15 2,442 -202
North America 3,940 8% Jan 00-Dec 00 4,869 -929
Rest of World 5,650 6% Mar 15-Feb 16 5,650 0

Visits from EU15 markets were up 10% in February 2016 at 1.32 million.  Following strong results in December last year and again in January, visits from these high volume markets reached 4.16 million in the three months to February 2016 – a record three months to February.  There were similar results over the medium term period of the rolling twelve months to February from EU15 markets.  With 20.13 million visits to the UK, this is the strongest rolling twelve month period, on record.

Visits from Other EU markets grew 17% in February 2016, to reach a record .36 million.  Despite this monthly record, weaker results in December 2015 and January 2016 put visits in the last three months on par with the same time last year.  During the twelve months from March 2015, visits to the UK from these markets were tracking above 4 million, 12% higher than the twelve months to February 2015.

The Rest of Europe was the only global region to report a decrease in visits to the UK during February 2016.  Boosted by strong January 2016 results, visits to the UK from the Rest of Europe were only down marginally by 1% in the last three months.  Compared to the record breaking 12 months to February 2015, visits to the UK from the Rest of Europe were down 8%.  The UK saw visit numbers from several individual markets in this region decline in the first nine months of 2015, compared to the first nine months of 2014, including Russia, Norway and Switzerland.

Visits to the UK from North America were up 6% in February 2016 at 0.17 million visits.  Combined visits from Canada and the USA were 10% higher in the three months from December 2015 and 8% up over the twelve months to February 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 visits in the most recent month were on par with February 2015.  With particularly strong month on month results for the majority of 2015, visits in the three months to February 2016 and rolling twelve months both increased 6% - setting new records for these periods ending in February 2016.

Explore the quarterly data or read more on the February 2016 results (PDF, 1.39MB).