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

  • There are more than twice as many male as female business visitors while there are smaller differences between the numbers of male and female leisure visitors
  • More than three-quarters of holiday visitors are making a repeat trip to Britain (excluding British nationals)
  • Most visitors are Swiss, but about one-in-five are British nationals
  • 96% of departing visitors say that they are either ‘likely’ or ‘extremely’ likely to recommend a visit to Britain

Popular activities

Dining in a restaurant

Visited a Pub

Went Shopping

Global context

International tourism expenditure (US$bn)18.9
Global rank for international tourism expenditure19
Number of outbound visits (m)24.5
Most visited destinationFrance

Key demographic and economic data

Population (m)8.8
GDP per capita PPP (US$)83,449
Annual average GDP growth over past decade (%)1.7
Annual GDP growth (%)2.1

Inbound visits to Britain from Switzerland

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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 the Swiss think about Britain

  • The cultural product or service that the Swiss most associate with Britain is museums, but they have an above average propensity to associate Britain with pop videos
  • 32% reckon that the adjective ‘exciting’ would describe a potential visit to Britain
  • More than half of Swiss associate Britain with the statement ‘has a rich and interesting history’ but both France and the USA are even more strongly associated with this attribute
  • While 38% associate Britain with the statement ‘is rich in natural scenic beauty’ leading competitors are much more strongly associated with the statement
  • Only 15% believe ‘is a relaxing destination’ is apposite for Britain and just 13% consider ‘is a romantic destination’ to be appropriate
  • Twice as many believe that the statement ‘people are welcoming’ is right for Italy than believe it to be right for Britain
  • More than one-in-four find the idea of ‘shopping in Harrods’ as appealing, and 21% associate the statement ‘shopping is good value for money’ in Britain

Caring for visitors

  • It is definitely an advantage to have important signs and information material printed in French and German and to know a few basic phrases in French and German to make Swiss visitors feel welcome
  • The Swiss are prepared to pay for good quality accommodation, but they do expect perfection
  • Cleanliness is of major importance to the Swiss, as are sustainability and environmental issues
  • The Swiss enjoy being able to consume organic food and will appreciate this being available when on holiday


The leisure & travel trade

  • According to the Swiss national travel agents’ association (SRV), the top ten tour operators in Switzerland probably account for 70% of the total market
  • The larger operators research their main programme between April and June, while smaller operators work to a slightly later timetable, researching between July and September
  • Major German operators are now increasingly active in Switzerland

Access to Britain from Switzerland

Weekly aircraft departures388
Weekly seat capacity62,200
Airports with direct routes in Switzerland3
Airports with direct routes in Britain20
  • Virtually all visits to Britain from Switzerland are made by air
  • Seat capacity is highly seasonal reflecting demand for outbound winter sports travel from Britain to Switzerland
  • Geneva and Zurich are the airports with the highest volume of capacity destined for Britain, with the bulk of seats destined for London area airports
  • Following the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, scheduled seat capacity in 2022 from Switzerland to the UK recovered to 74% of 2019 levels
  • The current rate of Air Passenger Duty for visitors departing Britain for Switzerland is £13