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. Data for 2021 and 2022 was also impacted by COVID-19, more information can be found on the About IPS page.

Due to the above, the latest full year IPS data below is from 2019. You can access data detailed data from 2020 onwards on the latest annual page.

Visitor characteristics

  • Business visitors are more than three times as likely to be male than female
  • More than three-in-five of holiday visitors are making a repeat visit to Britain (excluding British expats, within ten years)
  • Virtually all holiday and business visitors are German nationals but 21% of visiting friends and relations (VFR) visitors are British nationals
  • 96% of departing Germans are either ‘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)89.4
Global rank for international tourism expenditure3
Number of outbound overnight visits (m)99.6
Most visited destinationFrance

Key demographic and economic data

Population (m)83.5
GDP per capita PPP (US$)63,753
Annual average GDP growth over past decade (%)1.1
Annual GDP growth (%)1.9

Inbound visits to Britain from Germany

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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 Germans think about Britain

  • Germans rate the UK highly for contemporary culture, sports, culture in general, vibrant cities and historic buildings, but less so for scenic natural beauty and welcome, rated 36th and 25th out of sixty nations respectively on these two attributes in 2022
  • Music, museums and films are the cultural products or services most strongly associated with the UK among Germans
  • A trip to the UK would be expected to be ‘exciting’, ‘educational’, and 'fascinating'
  • Australia and to a lesser extent the USA are the destinations that Germans consider the ‘best place’ for delivering the things they most want from a holiday destination
  • Areas of strength for Britain include being somewhere to see ‘famous sites’ and for ‘lots of history’, while very few consider Britain is the ‘best place' for ‘food and drink’
  • Activities that appeal to potential visitors from Germany include 'driving through the countryside in England', 'visiting Madame Tussauds', 'spotting wildlife in the Scottish Highlands', 'sharing stories over a pint with locals in a cosy rural pub' and 'going hiking on the South West coast'

Caring for visitors

  • Very few German visitors expect their British hosts to speak German, with the majority of younger Germans speaking English
  • German visitors are likely to have planned their itinerary in some detail, but younger visitors may be more spontaneous, but all will welcome local recommendations for things to do and see
  • Germans often try to find accommodation that has ‘character’
  • German vegetarians are often impressed by the range of choices on offer in Britain

The leisure & travel trade

  • The German travel market is very mature, there are a few big players dominating the market but also a fair number of small specialist operators with comprehensive Britain programmes
  • Although in Germany retail agencies are still more important than in other European countries they are now also increasingly facing competition from internet travel portals
  • Large tour operators research their main season programmes between April and June, with off-season/city break operators doing their research in March and April 


Access to Britain from Germany

Weekly aircraft departures845
Weekly seat capacity134,120
Airports with direct routes in Germany18
Airports with direct routes in Britain17
  • Most Germans travel to Britain by plane. The destination can also be accessed by direct coach services, by car through the Channel Tunnel, by ferry or by a simple change of train in Brussels or Paris 
  • In 2023, there are 845 weekly departures with an average seat capacity of 134,120
  • 18 German airports have access to 17 British airports
  • Following the Covid-19 pandemic, scheduled seat capacity on non-stop flights from Germany to the UK has recovered to 75% of 2019 levels in 2023
  • German visitors flying home from Britain pay £13 in Air Passenger Duty