Research on inbound visitors with a health condition or impairment

Our latest Foresight report, Inbound visitors to the UK with a health condition or impairment, looks at the accessible needs and experiences of inbound visitors and travelling groups to Britain with a health condition or impairment, and their travel behaviour and visitor numbers in 2018 compared with those from 2010. 

From 22 May we will be working to update all of the data and documents on this page following the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revision of the International Passenger Survey (IPS) data for 2009-2018 and the released detailed 2019 data. Please be patient as we update these pages or contact the VisitBritain research team if you have any questions- VB/ Thank you.

Key findings

  • Since 2010, inbound visits from those with a health condition or impairment have grown significantly: up 16% in volume and up 42% in value.
  • Growth in visitors requiring a wheelchair saw the biggest rise - up 136% since 2010.


    • Visits: 759,000 trips or 1.9% of the total inbound overnight visits to the UK in 2018 were taken by those with an impairment or travelling within a group where a member had an impairment.
    • Spend: The total expenditure generated by those visits is estimated to be £552 million, or 2.1% of all inbound visitor spending in 2018.
    • Individual impairments: health conditions or impairments most likely to be mentioned were those relating to mobility (but not requiring wheelchair use) representing 27% of all impairments mentioned. Deafness/partial hearing loss and having a long term illness was were also prevalent impairments.
    • Age: There is a clear correlation between the age of a visitor to the UK and the likelihood of them reporting a health condition or impairment. 60% of those visiting with an impairment were over 55 in age compared to 22% across UK average.
    • Average spend and trip length: Those with a health condition and their travelling group are more likely to stay for longer and spend more than the UK inbound average.
    • Top source markets: USA is the biggest source market for this group of travellers, long haul markets Australia and Canada also feature highly. The Irish Republic and Spain are top markets for Europe. 
    • Eight-year trend: Inbound visits from those with a health condition or impairment have grown by +16% in volume and +42% in value over the last eight years. Visitors with mobility impairments that require a wheelchair have seen the most significant growth across this time, up 136% since 2010.

    Download the full report (PDF, 623KB)