Visitor characteristics

  • Visitors from the USA are more likely to be male than female, with this particularly true for business visitors
  • Over Half of all holiday visitors are making a repeat trip to Britain
  • California, New York and North Carolina generate the most visits to Britain with the 3 states representing a third of all inbound visits
  • 79% of visitors are ‘extremely likely’ to recommend a visit to the UK to friends and family

Popular activities

Sightseeing of Famous Buildings/ Monuments

Visited a Pub

Went Shopping

Global context

International tourism expenditure (US$bn)120.5
Global rank for international tourism expenditure2
Number of outbound visits (m)96.9
Most visited destinationMexico
Most visited destination in Western EuropeFrance

Key demographic and economic data

Population (m)321
GDP per capita (US$)55,844
Annual average GDP growth over past decade (%)1.4
Annual average GDP growth in the past year (%)2.4

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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Access to Britain from the USA

Weekly aircraft departures853
Weekly seat capacity226,347
Airports with direct routes in the USA28
Airports with direct routes in Britain14
  • 37% of Americans own a passport
  • Most visitors depart Britain by air, but more than 230,000 per annum leave on a Eurostar train
  • Airline seat capacity from the USA has picked up in recent years but still remains below levels seen before the Global Financial Crisis
  • Capacity from the USA to London Heathrow is ten times that to any other airport in Britain
  • A visitor departing Britain by air for the USA pays £73 in Air Passenger Duty

What Americans think about Britain

  • Americans have a very upbeat perception of Britain with culture holding a strong association. The only area of relative weakness for Britain is the perception scenic natural beauty.

  • Americans are unlikely to associate Britain with modern design, but strongly associate Britain with museums

  • 2-in-5 think a potential trip to Britain would be ‘educational’

  • The things that Americans most want from a holiday that they would ‘personally enjoy’ are ‘fun and laughter’, ‘enjoy the beauty of the landscape’ and ‘good value for money’ – Britain is the destination seen as best placed to offer the former, but Italy resonates strongly for the latter two
  • A visit to Buckingham Palace and Edinburgh Castle are particularly appealing options for potential visitors

Caring for visitors

  • As many will arrive in Britain on overnight flights from the US, consideration for early check-in at hotels/accommodation is always appreciated
  • Americans will want to stay in a 3-star plus property in a good/central location
  • Americans are used to larger rooms than are generally found in Britain as well as larger beds and, without exception, having private bathrooms
  • More than two-thirds of visits will involve a credit card transaction

The leisure & travel trade

  • The trade structure is dominated by travel agents and tour operators
  • There are many qualified tour operator companies with Britain product, ranging from small to large size
  • The planning cycle depends on the size of the company and business focus - generally allow a lead time of two years for product to appear in a fully escorted tour, with a shorter planning cycle of six moths to a year for FIT
  • Contracting can happen at any time from November to June


United States of America market profile

Find out what perceptions of Britain stop Americans exploring outside of LondonPublished July 2013

Uncover insights about the international travel behaviour of Hispanics living in the US, their sentiment towards Britain and a select number of competitor destinations. Published 2013

Read the report on the US Hispanic population and their travel behaviourPublished September 2012

Examine our research into the travel behaviour and attitudes of 18-30 year olds in New YorkPublished 2010

Read our report documenting American perceptions of the expense and value for money when taking a holiday in BritainPublished 2012

Find out where visitors from the USA reside in their own country. Published 2014

Exchange rate

1 GBP = 1.2987 USD

As of 14 August 2017

Retrieved from the Bank of England