Visitor characteristics

  • American visitors tend to be older than the average visitor to the UK: 49% of the American visitors were aged 45+ compared to a total average of 39%
  • California and New York generate the most visits with the 2 states representing almost a quarter of all visits from the USA to the UK
  • Almost 6 out of 10 American holiday visitors are making a repeat visit
  • Holiday visits continue to lead in terms of volume of visits from the American market

Popular activities for American visitors while in the UK

Sightseeing of Famous Buildings/ Monuments

Visited a Pub

Went Shopping

Global context

International tourism expenditure (US$bn)123.6
Global rank for international tourism expenditure2
Number of outbound visits (m)104.1
Most visited destinationMexico
Most visited destination in Western EuropeFrance

Key demographic and economic data

Population (m)326.6
GDP per capita PPP (US$)52,789
Annual average GDP growth over past decade (%)1.4
Annual average GDP growth in 2017 (%)2.2

Inbound visits to Britain

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Overview of UK visitor statistics in   Change from previous year
Number of visits
Total expenditure (GBP)
Total nights spent
Average length of stay (Nights)
Average spend per visit (GBP)

Seasonality (Share of visits)

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Visits % total Visits % total

Regional spread (Share of visits)

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Visits % total Nights % total Visits % total Nights % total

Journey purpose (Share of visits)

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What Americans think about Britain

  • Americans have a very upbeat perception of Britain as they ranked Britain 3th overall among 50 nations

  • Americans rate Britain highly for vibrant city life but less for natural beauty

  • Museums is the cultural product that is most strongly associated with Britain among Americans

  • Areas of strength for Britain include ‘cultural attractions’ and ‘ease of getting around' according to American 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 having private bathrooms
  • Americans are very comfortable paying for goods and services with a credit card

The leisure & travel trade

  • The travel trade structure in the US is made up of tour operators, online travel agents (OTAs) and front-line retail travel agents
  • Generally allow a minimum 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/independent travel
  • Some independent operators will develop product at various times throughout the year as many no longer publish printed brochures
  • Contracting for the following year can start any time from the fall (World Travel Market) through until June

Access to Britain from the USA

Weekly aircraft departures910
Weekly seat capacity244,388
Airports with direct routes in the USA35
Airports with direct routes in Britain14
  • Most visitors depart Britain by air (85%), another 12% leave through the Channel Tunnel
  • 35 airports in the USA were connected to the UK via direct flights, in 2017
  • Airline seat capacity from the USA reached its highest level in 2017 since 2006
  • In 2017, London Heathrow had 76% of seat capacity from the USA to the UK