Visitor characteristics

  • Most trips are by those aged 25-44, but the cohort of 45-54 also saw strong over most of the past decade
  • More than half of holiday visitors from France (excluding British nationals) are making a repeat trip to Britain
  • 27% of visiting friends and relatives (VFR) visitors from France are British nationals
  • 91% of departing visitors are ‘very’ or ‘extremely likely’ to recommend Britain for a holiday or short-break

Popular activities

Sightseeing of Famous Buildings/ Monuments

Visited a Pub

Went Shopping

Global context

International tourism expenditure (US$bn)41.4
Global rank for international tourism expenditure5
Number of outbound visits (m)50.1
Most visited destinationSpain

Key demographic and economic data

Population (m)67.4
GDP per capita PPP (US$)38,440
Annual average GDP growth over past decade (%)0.9
Annual average GDP growth in the past year (%)1.6

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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What the French think about Britain

  • The French hold a slightly less positive view of Britain than is the case for many other countries
  • They rate Britain highly for contemporary culture, vibrant cities and sport, but less for welcome and scenic natural beauty; Britain was rated 16th and 32nd out of fifty nations repectively on these two attributes in 2017
  • Music and museums are the cultural products or services most strongly associated with Britain among the French
  • 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
  • Areas of strength for Britain include the ‘ease of getting around’, ‘good shopping’, ‘being somewhere to see famous sites’ and for ‘lots of history’ and to ‘watch sporting events’ while very few consider Britain as the ‘best place for ‘food and drink’
  • Activities that appeal to potential French visitors include a ‘visit to Buckingham Palace’ and ‘spotting wildlife in the Scottish Highlands’

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 and a good benchmark for the value for money levels expected.
  • Youth travellers prefer to opt for youth hostels or university accommodation as they tend to be more price-sensitive
  • Expectation levels for standards and services 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


Access to Britain from France

Weekly aircraft departures1027
Weekly seat capacity147,826
Airports with direct routes in France41
Airports with direct routes in Britain25
Eurostar trains per day from Paris17
Weekly ferry crossings775
Weekly Eurotunnel Shuttles343
  • 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