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 May 2016

Visits and spend figures

  MAY 2016 Year To Date (Jan - MAY 16)
    % change vs May 15   % change vs Jan-May 15
All visits (000) 3,530 -1% 14,070 3%
Spend (£m) £1,860 -8% £7,170 -3%
  Rolling 12 months
(JUNE 15-MAY 16)
Benchmark to best ever rolling 12 months
    % change vs June 14-May 15 When Record Current deficit
Total visits (000) 36,510 4% Apr 15-Mar 16 36,648 -138
Spend (£m) £21,830 -1% Jul 14-Jun 15 £22,113 -283

Visits: The UK recorded 3.53 million inbound visits in May which is a 1% decrease on May 2015. However, the number of visits for year to date is 3% higher compared to the same period last year, due to a strong Q1 this year - up 8% on Q1 2015. The longer term picture is also more positive, as the 12 month period to May is tracking 4% higher than the previous 12 months at 36.51 million visits.

Spending: May has seen the highest value of spending so far in 2016; however, we are still down on May last year - 8% lower at £1.86 billion. It is worth nothing that last year was a record for May and up 13% on the year before. Whilst the last three months and also the year to date spending figures show a decrease (5% and 3% decrease respectively) the 12 month period to May 2016 shows less volatility and is just 1% lower than the previous 12 month period.

 

Visits by journey purpose

  MAY 2016 Year To Date (Jan - MAY 16)
  Visits (000) % change vs May 15 Visits (000) % change vs Jan-May 15
Holiday 1,480 -7% 4,920 -4%
VFR 1,020 15% 4,380 10%
Business 790 -8% 3,760 5%
Miscellaneous 240 -2% 1,020 6%
  Rolling 12 months
(JUNE 15-MAY 16)
Benchmark to best ever rolling 12 months
  Visits (000)

% change vs June 14-May 15

When Record (000) Current deficit (000)
Holiday 13,640 -1% Apr 15-Mar 16 13,998 -358
VFR 10,830 9% June 15-May 16 10,830 0
Business 9,030 5% May 15-Apr 16 9,102 -72
Miscellaneous 3,000 11% Apr 07-Mar 08 3,466 -466

Holiday visits were 7% down on last year at 1.48 million, after a strong performance in May 2015. The last three months are also lower than the same period last year, 9% down at 3.51 million, and the year to date is currently tracking 4% lower than last year. The 12 month view is slightly more stable, just 1% down overall on the 12 months prior.

Visits to friends and relatives (VFR) was the only journey purpose to experience an increase in visits in May, up 15% to 1.02 million and setting a new record for May. So far this year, the UK has welcomed 4.38 VFR visits, up 10% on the same period last year. Over the course of the last 12 months, there has been a 9% increase in visits for this reason.

During May 2016, business visits declined, down 8% on the previous May to 790,000 visits which was the same volume of visits as May 2014. However, due to strong performance earlier this year, the three month period and year to date are higher than in 2015, 8% and 5% higher respectively. Over the longer term, the last 12 months have seen a 5% increase in business visits, at 9.03 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. In May 2016 visits to the UK for miscellaneous purposes were 2% lower than May last year. However, in the first five months of 2016 there were 1.02 million visits (6% more than the same period a year before). Miscellaneous visits to the UK were tracking 11% higher in the twelve months from May 2015 than during the previous twelve month period.

Visits by global region

  MAY 2016 Year To Date (Jan - MAY 16)
  Visits (000) % change
vs May 15
Visits (000) % change vs Jan-May 15
EU15 2,070 4% 8,210 3%
Other EU 390 -16% 1,900 10%
Rest of Europe 260 27% 950 11%
North America 380 -12% 1,310 1%
Rest of World 420 -13% 1,690 -6%
  Rolling 12 months
(JUNE 15-MAY 16)
Benchmark to best ever rolling 12 months
  Visits (000) % change vs June 14-May 15 When Record (000) Current deficit (000)
EU15 20,200 2% Apr 15-Mar 16 20,258 -58
Other EU 4,400 13% May 15-Apr 16 4,477 -77
Rest of Europe 2,360 0% Feb 14-Jan 15 2,435 -75
North America 3,990 9% Jan 00-Dec 00 4,869 -879
Rest of World 5,550 4% Feb 15-Jan 16 5,663 -113

Visits from EU15 markets were 4% ahead of May 2015 at 2.07 million, which is a May record. The UK has only ever received more than 2 million visits in a single month once before (in April 2015). The year to date is up 3% on the same period last year, at 8.21 million and there were similar results over the medium term period of the rolling twelve months to May from EU15 markets; with 20.20 million visits to the UK, up 2% year-on-year.

Visits from Other EU markets have decreased this month, down 16% since May 2015. However, May 2015 currently holds the record for highest number of visits in a single month, so this should be taken into account. During the first five months of 2016 there were 1.90 million visits to the UK from combined Other EU markets, 10% ahead of the first five months of last year. Visits to the UK from these markets were 13% higher at 4.40 million in the twelve months from June 2015.

The Rest of Europe posted record breaking results in May 2016, up 27% on a weak May 2015 to 260,000 visits. Boosted by strong results in May, the three months to May experienced a 12% increase on the same period the year before, up at 630,000 visits. This is after a weak Jan – May in 2015, which was down 8% for visits on the previous year.

Visits to the UK from North America were down 12% in May 2016 at 380,000 visits. Combined visits from Canada and the USA were steady in the three months to May 2016 and 9% up over the twelve months to May 2016 compared to the previous rolling twelve months. For the rolling 12 months period, the number of visits has fallen slightly short of the recent 4 million visits experienced in March and April. These results still fall short of the record highs recorded in the first year of this millennium.

Rest of World reported a decrease in visits to the UK of 13% during May 2016 at 420,000 visits. Visits in the first five months of 2016 were 6% lower than in 2015, at 1.69 million. However, 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 May 2016 visits were tracking 4% higher, compared to the previous twelve month period.

Explore the quarterly data or read more on the May 2016 results (PDF, 960KB).