Visitor characteristics

  • Most trips are by those aged 25-44, but the cohort having seen the strongest growth in the past decade is 55+
  • Nearly 30% of holiday visitors are travelling as part of a tour group
  • 60% of holiday visitors are making a repeat trip to Britain
  • More than one-third of visiting friends and relations (VFR) visitors from France are British nationals
  • Paris is by far the most important source market for visits to Britain within France
  • 42% of departing visitors are ‘extremely likely’ to recommend Britain for a holiday or short-break

Popular activities

Sightseeing of Famous Buildings/ Monuments

Visited a Museum

Went Shopping

Global context

International tourism expenditure (US$bn)38.4
Global rank for international tourism expenditure5
Number of outbound visits (m)46.3
Most visited destinationSpain

Key demographic and economic data

Population (m)66.6
GDP per capita (US$)36,331
Annual average GDP growth over past decade (%)0.9
Annual average GDP growth in the past year (%)1.2

Inbound visits to Britain

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Seasonality (Share of visits)

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Regional spread (Share of visits)

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Journey purpose (Share of visits)

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Access to Britain from France

Weekly aircraft departures999
Weekly seat capacity141,585
Airports with direct routes in France40
Airports with direct routes in Britain29
Eurostar trains per day from Paris18
Weekly ferry crossings757
Weekly Eurotunnel Shuttles322
  • Slightly more visitors reach Britain from France through the Channel Tunnel than by 'plane'
  • Airline seat capacity is highly seasonal but is largely shaped by demand for travel to France by holidaying Britons
  • Routes with the highest capacity are those operating from Paris to London
  • French visitors flying home from Britain pay £13 in Air Passenger Duty

What the French think about Britain

  • The French hold a slightly less positive view of Britain than is the case for many other countries
  • Britain is rated less highly than average by the French for ‘welcome’, ‘aspiration to visit were money no object’ and ‘scenic natural beauty’
  • Museums and music are the cultural products the French would most expect to see produced in Britain
  • Australia, Italy and the US are the destinations most likely to be seen as the ‘best place’ for delivering on factors the French most ‘want’ from a destination
  • Britain is seen as the ‘best place’ for ‘good shopping’ and ‘watching a sporting event’ by more than one-in-three and one-in-five believe Britain is the best place for ‘good value’
  • 37% say they find the idea of spotting wildlife in the Scottish Highlands appealing

Caring for visitors

  • The French are keen to have information provided in their own language when in Britain
  • They prefer to stay in mid-range accommodation, including bed and breakfasts, with en-suite facilities – country house hotels are popular in France (Relais et Chateaux), and a good benchmark for the value for money levels expected
  • Youth travellers prefer to opt for youth hostels or university accommodation
  • A designated smoking area in public places is appreciated
  • Expectation levels for standards and service are high – any issues should be resolved promptly

The leisure & travel trade

  • The trade structure is quite complex and fragmented - made up of tour operators and travel agencies (online and offline), with associations and social clubs playing an important role
  • November-December and May-September are the main planning periods
  • Tour operators are mainly based in Paris



France market profile

Read about the preferences of Europeans towards tourismPublished March 2015

Find out what perceived barriers to going exploring beyond London for the French. Published July 2013

Find out where visitors from France to the UK reside in their own country. Published 2009 and 2014

Exchange rate

1 GBP = 1.1348 EUR

As of 22 June 2017

Retrieved from the Bank of England