Records broken for number of international visits to UK in January

New figures out today show that a new January record has been set for the numbers of international visits to the UK, up 6% on the same month last year.

The Office for National Statistics figures show that more than 2.5 million visits were made in January 2016 with visitors spending £1.28 billion. And while this figure doesn’t quite match the highs of the summer months when a record-breaking 3.7 million international visits were made in July alone last year, this traditionally quieter month represents a very encouraging start to the year according to VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates. 

VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said:

“These record-breaking figures highlight the increasing year-round importance of inbound tourism to the UK economy. Tourism remains one of our fastest growing export industries but also one of the most globally competitive which is why we continue to showcase, through our international marketing campaigns, just why Britain should top people’s list as a must-go now destination.”

VisitBritain recently launched its largest international marketing campaign for 2016 to promote memorable ‘moments’ that can only be found in Britain to drive tourism across all the nations and regions.

Called GREAT Britain ‘Home of Amazing Moments’ the campaign calls on people to upload images of their own memorable experiences from their holidays in Britain using the hashtag #OMGB. The idea is to inspire people to want to be part of it and book a trip now to come and discover their own amazing moments.

Last year set a record for inbound tourism to Britain with 35.8 million visits, 4% up on 2014. Comparing growth over the last five years shows that there were six million more visits in 2015 than 2010, an increase of 20%.
Tourism is Britain's seventh largest export industry and third largest service sector. The industry is also a major job creator, for example every 22 additional Chinese visitors that come to Britain create an additional job in the sector.

Inbound tourism is worth more than £26 billion to the UK economy.


  • For more information about the GREAT Britain Home of Amazing Moments campaign see:
  • For more information about VisitBritain see