Inbound sport research

Be it the Premier League, Ryder Cup, Wimbledon or simply a walk in the countryside, watching or participating in active pursuits in Britain attracts substantial numbers of visitors from overseas.

In 2011, we sponsored questions in the International Passenger Survey (IPS) on activities visitors undertook whilst in Britain, including how many visitors from overseas watched or participated in sports including football, walking and golf. The results are shown in the table below:

Visitors who participated in or went to an activity

Activities asked about Visits which involved activity Nights spent in UK* Amount spent in UK*
  Visits (000) % of all visits % of holiday visits Nights (000) £(m)
Went to a live sport event
(e.g. at a stadium)
1,325 3% 4% 14,673 £1,128
Took part in sports activities 707 2% 3% 10,989 £730

* By those whose visit included the activity. Nights and spend are not specifically whilst under-taking activity but throughout visit to UK

Type of activity visitors undertook

Type of sports activity Visits which involved activity Nights spent in UK* Amount spent in UK*
  Visits (000) % of those who went to a live event Nights (000) £(m)
Walking / hiking 142 20% 2,589 £146
Cycling / mountain biking 57 8% 1,158 £57
Football 105 15% 2,671 £176
Golf 116 16% 1,529 £159
Rugby 26 4% 440 £17
Cricket 22 3% 452 £21

* By those whose visit included the activity. Nights and spend are not specifically whilst under-taking activity but throughout visit to UK

Propensity for holidays in UK nations and regions to involve sporting activities, 2006-2011

Visiting rural / coastal locations, participating in outdoor / sports ALL SW SE LON EE WM EM YKS NW NE WL SC
Walking the countryside 24% 58% 45% 12% 27% 33% 32% 37% 24% 26% 50% 52%
Walking the coast 8% 37% 25% 2% 9% 4% 4% 15% 8% 35% 38% 29%
Playing golf 2% 3% 4% 0% 3% 3% 3% 5% 1% 0% 3% 7%
Going cycling 1% 7% 2% 1% 3% 2% 2% 2% 0% 4% 1% 2%

Our report on inbound tourism to Britain’s nations and regions (PDF, 2.47MB) covers the profile of international visitors in different areas of Britain and the activities they do there. It shows in which areas of Britain overseas visitors are most likely to watch or participate in sport including golf, cycling, football and walking.

You can also find out more on particular activities visitors from overseas undertook in 2011 (XLS, 12.3MB).

Take a look at our dedicated page for insights into inbound visitors who went to a live football match.