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

The 36.1 million overseas visitors who came to the UK in 2015 spent £22.1 billion – both setting records. These figures represent a 5% increase in volume and 1% (nominal) increase in value compared with 2014.

In 2015 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 2.9% of global arrivals in 2015.

In 2015 the UK was in sixth place in the international tourism earnings league (down from fifth in 2014) behind the USA, China, Spain, France and Thailand according to UNWTO figures.

The UK accounted for 3.4% of international tourism receipts in 2015.

In 2015 France, the USA and Germany were the top three markets in terms of number of visits to the UK accounting for 30% of visits.  The top three markets measured in terms of visitor spend were the same markets although in a different order (USA, France and Germany) accounting for 27% of all overseas visitor spend in the UK.

London accounts for 54% of all inbound visitor spend, the rest of England 34%, Scotland 8% and Wales 2%.

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