Inbound transport research

Types of transport used by inbound visitors during their stay in Britain

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.

Every year we add extra questions to the Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey to help us better understand the needs and characteristics of overseas visitors to Britain.

One of the questions that we added during 2013 focused on the types of transport that visitors used during their stay. The table presents the proportion of visits that included using each of the different types of transport that were asked about.

Types of transport used by visitors

Type of transport Visit share in 2018
Domestic flight 1%
Bus, tube, tram or metro train (within town/city) 48%
Train (outside town/city) 23%
Taxi 27%
Uber or other sharing app 9%
Public bus/coach (outside town/city) 5%
Private coach/minibus (for group only) 2%
Hired self-drive car/vehicle 5%
Car/vehicle you/group brought to the UK 1%
Ferry/boat 1%
None of these 10%
Source: International Passenger Survey, 2018

The most commonly used mode of transport is ‘bus, tube, tram or metro train (within town/city)’, which is reported to be used by just about half of all respondents (48%). Nearly one-in-four say they used a taxi during their time in Britain and 23% use a train to travel outside of towns and cities.

Looking at transport within towns and cities, transport sharing apps have developed into a common alternative mode of transport, with 9% of inbound visitors using these in 2018.

Please note that most lorry drivers were not asked this question, and, as a consequence, are not taken into account in the results for 'Car/vehicle you/group brought to the UK'.

Download our summary spreadsheet on types of transport that inbound visitors to Britain used in 2018 (xlsx, 37KB) during their stay. Published November 2019