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 more male than female visitors and 6-in-10 visits were made by Indian residents aged 25-54 years old in 2019
  • 33% of holiday visitors (excluding British expats) are making a repeat visit to Britain (within ten years)
  • Just over half of the visits from India to Britain were made by people who reside in the Maharashtra (including Mumbai) and in the Delhi states
  • 86% of departing Indians (excluding British expats) say they are ‘extremely likely’ to recommend Britain for a visit, which is above the 82% across all markets

Popular activities

Dining in a restaurant

Sightseeing of Famous Buildings/ Monuments

Went Shopping

Global context

International tourism expenditure (US$bn)22.9
Global rank for international tourism expenditure15
Number of outbound visits (m)21.8
Most visited destinationUnited Arab Emirates
Most visited destination in Western EuropeFrance

Key demographic and economic data

Population (m)1,395.1
GDP per capita PPP (US$)6,714
Annual average GDP growth over past decade (%)5.3
Annual GDP growth (%)8.1

Inbound visits to Britain from India

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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 Indians think about Britain

  • Those in India have a generally positive view of Britain. According to the 2021 Anholt Nation Brands Index, they ranked Britain sixth for its nation brand among 60 nations overall, also ranking Britain fourth for 'historic buildings' and 'contemporary culture'
  • For Indian respondents the cultural product or services they most expect to be produced in Britain are ‘films', 'modern design' and 'museums'
  • Indian respondents expect that a trip to Britain would be 'exciting' and 'educational
  • Top holiday desires include ‘enjoying the beauty of the landscape’, ‘feeling connected to nature’ and ‘good value for money’. Although Britain rates above average for all those holiday attribues, Australia is the destination most often considered as the ‘best place’ to get the former two while USA is perceived as the ‘best place’ for the latter holiday desire 
  • Britain seems to be the best destination for ‘visiting a place with lots of history/ historic sites’ and ‘revisiting places of nostalgic importance’ for Indian respondents

Caring for visitors

  • Family plays an extremely important role in Indian life. Visitors will often ask for family or interconnecting rooms
  • The use of the 'Namaste', the greeting with folded hands, is usually appreciated among Indian guests, while it is best to wait for your guest to extend their first to shake it
  • Many Indians are vegetarian and teetotallers, and it is vital that a good variety of vegetarian options are made available on menus
  • Leisure visitors from India are less likely than those from the average market to use a credit card while in Britain
  • Whilst many speak good English, some may have issues understanding slang or accent

The leisure & travel trade

  • The travel trade in India changes slowly. The trade still plays a pivotal role in booking outbound travel while online booking is mainly popular for domestic travel, and digital sources are used mostly for travel inspiration and destination information
  • Brochures are planned and produced in December or January discussions are best started a year in advance, but can still occur in October-November as last-minute changes in the itinerary happen frequently
  • Telephone contact and face-to-face interaction is appreciated, as well as the provision of brochures

Access to Britain from India

Weekly aircraft departures101
Weekly seat capacity25,840
Airports with direct routes in India7
Airports with direct routes in Britain4
  • Out of all the airlines to operate the India to Britain route in 2019, British Airways and Air India served the most departing seats, with a combined share of 79%
  • In 2019, the routes connecting Delhi and Mumbai to London Heathrow served the most departing seats, with a combined share of 68%
  • Visitors from India need a visa to visit Britain and should apply for a six-month standard visitor visa currently costing £100
  • A new route was introduced from Amritsar to London Stansted in 2019
  • In 2019, the highest rate of flight departures took place in January-March
  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic led to a 53% reduction in seat capacity from India to the UK in 2020, and 2021 was 54% behind pre-COVID levels 
  • Those flying home to India from Britain pay £84 in Air Passenger Duty if travelling in economy class