The International Passenger Survey (IPS) was suspended on 16 March 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic until the start of 2021. The ONS have made every effort to produce high-quality estimates for the periods when IPS data is not being collected but have not been able to produce a full set of results. See the 2020 inbound page for more information.

The 2021 data is ‘incomplete’ as Eurotunnel data was unavailable for the entire year. In addition, interviewing at Dover restarted from Q3 2021 and pseudo records for the Irish land border were also removed in 2021. More info can be found on the 2021 inbound page.

For 2022, Eurotunnel data was also unavailable for the first half of the year. Interviewing at Eurostar was not affected by Covid-19 restrictions in 2021 or the first half of 2022. The ONS restarted IPS interviews at all ports from July 2022. The latest data can be found on the monthly and quarterly pages.

Due to the above, the latest full year IPS data below is from 2019.

Visitor characteristics

  • There are more than twice as many male than female business visitors
  • Almost four-in-five Belgian holiday visitors (excluding British expats) are making a repeat visit to Britain (within ten years)
  • Far more visitors come from Brussels than any other part of Belgium
  • 97% of departing visitors from Belgium (excluding British expats) are ‘likely’ or ‘extremely likely’ to recommend a visit to Britain

Popular activities

Dining in a restaurant

Sightseeing of Famous Buildings/ Monuments

Went Shopping

Global context

International tourism expenditure (US$bn)18.8
Global rank for international tourism expenditure20
Number of outbound visits (m)26.9
Most visited destinationFrance

Key demographic and economic data

Population (m)11.6
GDP per capita PPP (US$)57,785
Annual average GDP growth over past decade (%)1.4
Annual GDP growth (%)2.5

Inbound visits to Britain from Belgium

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Number of visits

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Total expenditure (GBP)

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Total nights spent

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Average length of stay (Nights)


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Average spend per visit (GBP)

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What Belgians think about Britain

  • Museums and films are the cultural products that Belgians most closely associate with Britain
  • 44% say a potential trip to Britain would be 'exciting'
  • 46% associate the statement 'has a rich and interesting history' with Britain but a greater number associate it with both France and Italy
  • 42% reckon that Britain 'is good for high street shopping'
  • One-in-three associate Britain with the statement 'is rich in natural scenic beauty' but competitor destinations are much more strongly associated with the attribute

Caring for visitors

  • 3 or 4 star hotels tend to be the favoured form of holiday accommodation, with an eagerness for value for money and a warm personal welcome
  • Belgians like to take time over their meals and take pride in their cuisine
  • Belgians are comfortable paying for goods and services with a credit card when on holiday

The leisure & travel trade

  • Group operators, especially those providing school and youth travel, are an important sector of the travel trade selling Britain
  • Most Belgians book a holiday to Britain directly on the internet
  • It is wise to be on time for meetings

Access to Britain from Belgium

Weekly aircraft departures84
Weekly seat capacity14,319
Airports with direct routes in Belgium2
Airports with direct routes in Britain7
Eurostar trains per day from Brussels7
Weekly ferry crossings7
  • The majority of Belgians reach Britain by means of the Channel Tunnel
  • The bulk of plane seat capacity serves the Brussels to Heathrow corridor
  • There were 84 weekly departures with an average seating capacity of 14,319 in 2022
  • Following the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, scheduled flight seat capacity from Belgium to the UK in 2022 recovered to 66% of 2019 levels
  • Those who fly back to Belgium from Britain pay £13 in Air Passenger Duty if flying economy