2017 was a record year for inbound tourism to the UK, with growth set to continue in 2018 according to forecasts from national tourism agency VisitBritain.
Overseas visits to the UK are forecast to break through the 40 million mark for the first time in 2018, reaching 41.7 million, up 4.4% on 2017 which saw 39.9 million visits. Spending by overseas visitors to the UK is forecast to reach £26.9 billion in 2018, up 6.8% on 2017.
VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said: “Tourism is one of the UK’s most valuable export industries. It is also a fiercely competitive global industry and these results not only demonstrate Britain’s continued ability to compete internationally for visitors, they are testament to tourism’s importance as a driver of economic growth.
“We are working with partners across the world to tell customers of experiences they can only have in Britain and encourage them to book a trip now. We have seen good growth this year from the US and China, and are developing new products that make it easier for overseas visitors to book and explore all of Britain.”
The UK was ranked third for tourism globally in the 2017 Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index (NBI) published last month, equalling its highest rank ever and up two places from last year. The NBI considered attributes including historic buildings and monuments, having a vibrant city life and natural beauty.
Tourism is worth £127 billion to the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across its nations and regions.