Britain's visitor economy facts

Since 2010 tourism has been the fastest growing sector in the UK in employment terms. Britain is forecast to have a tourism industry worth over £257 billion by 2025.

The big picture - the tourism economy: delivering jobs and growth

Infographic displaying statistics in tourism jobs from The Deloitte Tourism: jobs and growth report 9.6% of total UK jobs

Source: Tourism: jobs and growth. Deloitte November 2013

The Deloitte Tourism: jobs and growth report found that the marginal revenue required to create a job in UK tourism is estimated to be around £54,000. For every 1% increase in total expenditure in UK tourism, it might be expected that full time equivalent employment will increase by 0.89%.

The sector is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 3.8% through to 2025 - significantly faster than the overall UK economy (with a predicted annual rate of 3% per annum) and much faster than sectors such as manufacturing, construction and retail.

Infographic displaying how tourism is predicted to grow from The Deloitte Tourism: jobs and growth report - tourism will be worth £257.4 bn by 2025

Source: Tourism: jobs and growth. Deloitte November 2013

Britain will have a tourism industry worth over £257 billion by 2025 – just under 10% of UK GDP and supporting almost 3.8 million jobs, which is around 11% of the total UK number.

Tourism’s impact is amplified through the economy, so its impact is much wider than just the direct spending levels. Deloitte estimates the tourism GVA multiplier to be 2.8 – meaning that for every £1,000 generated in direct tourism GVA there is a further £1,800 that is supported elsewhere in the economy through the supply chain and consumer spending.

Inbound tourism will continue to be the fastest growing tourism sector – with spend by international visitors forecast to grow by over 6% a year in comparison with domestic spending by UK residents at just over 3%. The value of inbound tourism is forecast to grow from over £21bn in 2013 to £57bn by 2025, with the UK seeing an international tourism balance of payments surplus in 2023, almost forty years since the UK last reported a surplus.

Download the full report from Deloitte to discover tourism’s central role in creating new jobs across Britain (PDF, 3.93MB), commissioned by VisitBritain in 2013.

Similar reports were under taken in 2010 (PDF, 2.5MB) and in 2008 (PDF, 1.48MB).

Inbound tourism to the UK

In 2019 inbound tourism was setting new records with inbound visitors spending £28.4 billion, up 7% on inbound spending in 2018. Visits were also up (1%) in 2019, with 40.9 million visits to the UK recorded — just short of the record-holder in 2017.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there was a decrease in inbound visits and spend in 2020 and 2021. Please see the 2020 annual page and 2021 annual page for more information. 


Repeat visitors to the UK

In 2015, 77% of inbound visits were repeat visits, spending £14 billion in the UK.

Repeat holiday visitors are likely to stay longer on their trip to the UK than first-time visitors, and spend more on average per night and overall on their trip, indicating how valuable it is to encourage visitors to return.

In 2015, 91% of business visits were repeat visits, 85% of visits to friends and family, and 63% of holiday visits.

Certain markets are also more likely to make repeat visits to the UK: 91% of holiday visits from Irish Republic, 83% from Iceland, 82% from Norway and 79% from Belgium were repeat visits in 2015, all close neighbouring countries.

To get more information on repeat visits, including information on inbound markets and UK regions, please download the following report (PDF,740KB).