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

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.

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, commissioned by VisitBritain in 2013.

Similar reports were under taken in 2010 and in 2008.

Britain's image overseas

Britain's image overseas according
to the 2014 Anholt GfK Nations Brand Index

In the 2014 Anholt GfK Nations Brand Index the UK retained 3rd place as a 'nation brand' behind Germany and the USA. Rankings are out of 50 nations, including leading and emerging economies, and are produced by collating the views of 20,000 people around the world each year.

The overall nation brand is made up of scores for six dimensions - Tourism, Culture, People, Immigration-Investment, Exports and Governance, as shown. Looking at the dimensions relevant for tourism the UK ranked 3rd out of 50 nations in terms of a 'Tourism' brand and 5th for 'Culture'.

Our strongest 'Tourism' dimensions are for our 'vibrant city life and urban attractions', ranked 4th and being 'rich in historic buildings and monuments', ranked 5th. Aspirations to visit the UK were also strong with the UK ranked 5th as a place people ‘would like to visit if money was no object’. Our strongest 'Culture' element is for 'contemporary culture', ranked 3rd with our 'cultural heritage' ranked 7th out of 50.

In 2014, the UK saw an improvement of one place for ‘excels at sport’ to 4th while 'natural beauty' held a position of 20th. Perceptions of the UK welcome return to pre Games position of 13th.

Go to Britain’s image overseas: how the world views Britain, for more information.

Inbound tourism to the UK

The record 34.4 million overseas visitors who came to the UK in 2014 spent a record £21.8 billion. These figures represent a 5% increase in volume and 3% (nominal) increase in value compared with 2013.

In 2013 the UK ranked eighth in the UNWTO international tourist arrivals league, a position held for a number of years, behind France, USA, Spain, China, Italy, Turkey and Germany.  The UK accounted for 2.8% of global arrivals in 2013.

In 2013 the UK was in ninth place in the international tourism earnings league (in recent years the UK's highest rank was fifth in 2005 and 2006) behind the USA, Spain, China, France, Macao, Italy, Thailand and Germany according to UNWTO figures.

The UK accounted for 3.4% of international tourism receipts in 2013.

In 2014 France, Germany and the USA were the top three markets in terms of number of visits to the UK accounting for nearly one-in-three visits.  The top three markets measured in terms of visitor spend were USA, Germany and France, accounting for a little over one-quarter of all overseas visitor spend.

London accounts for 54% of all inbound visitor spend, the rest of England 33%, Scotland 8% and Wales 2%.

A separate page is dedicated to covering key Inbound Tourism Facts.