The value of tourism in England

Generating £106 billion a year. Employing over 2 million people. Supporting thousands of businesses. Making up over 80% of the UK's total visitor economy, England's tourism sector is vibrant and vital.

Tourism works hand in hand with a wide range of sectors across England, including farming, transport, retail, sport, museums and the arts.

Download our Key Facts & Trends 2016 Infographic (PDF, 165KB) or download our England Tourism FactSheet (PDF 816KB).

Economic impact

Taking into account direct and indirect impacts (including aspects like the supply chain), tourism in England contributes £106 billion to the British economy (GDP) and supports 2.6 million jobs. Looking at direct impacts only, tourism still contributes £48 billion, supporting 1.4 million jobs. In 2011, there were 208,880 VAT registered businesses in England in tourism sectors, including accommodation, food and drink, transport, travel agencies, cultural activities and more.
 

Tourism Volumes and Spending 

  • In 2016, British residents spent £18.5 billion on 99.3 million overnight trips in England, adding up to 288 million nights away from home.
  • Overseas visitors to England spent £19.7 billion in 2016, making 33 million trips and staying for 246 million nights.
  • 1.6 billion day trips were taken to English destinations in 2016, with spending totalling £53.5 billion.
     

Accommodation

By measuring the available accommodation stock in our census we've found that England has:

  • 33,374 serviced accommodation businesses (e.g bed and breakfasts, guest houses and hotels) with 786,775 bedrooms and 1,768,795 bed spaces.
  • 31,845 non-serviced accommodation businesses (e.g holiday homes, camping and caravan parks) offering 1,401,716 bed spaces.
  • An average serviced accommodation room occupancy of 71% in 2016, with average bed space occupancy at 52%.
     

Attractions

It's difficult to measure an exact number of visitor attractions, as some businesses or sites, like places of worship, have a different primary purpose but are still visited by tourists. However, we estimate there are around 5,000 to 6,000 visitor attractions in England.