House of Commons Library

Tourism: statistics and policy

Published Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Visitors to and from the UK, domestic tourism, tourism policy in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Jump to full report >>

This note includes statistics on inbound and outbound visitors to and from the UK, domestic tourism in the UK, the impact of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games on tourism, the contribution of tourism to the UK economy and the Government’s tourism policy.

Visitor numbers:

  • There were 36.1 million inbound visits to the UK in 2015. London was the most popular destination in the UK, attracting 51% of all visits.
  • There were 65.7 million outbound visits from the UK. Spain was the most popular destination for UK tourists, attracting 20% of all visits.

There were 114.2 million domestic overnight trips made in Great Britain in 2014, a fall of 7% on the number of domestic visits made in 2013.

Inbound and outbound visitors

Economic impact:

  • The tourism industry contributed £56 billion in economic output in 2013
  • Tourism related industries employed 2.8 million people, 9% of all employment

Tourism policy

The UK Government’s overall tourism strategy is summarised in its Five Point Plan for Tourism:

  • Change the “tourism landscape” in England
  • Support the development of skills and businesses in tourism
  • Reduce regulation which might hamper the growth of tourism businesses
  • Support the growth of transport networks and hubs that enable tourism across the UK
  • Improve border services so that arrivals are better managed, whilst retailing a “robust migration system”

The policies that are being used to implement this in England are discussed, and tourism policy in the devolved nations is also summarised.


Responses from tourism industry bodies to the result of the EU referendum on 23 June 2016 are also summarised.

Commons Briefing papers SN06022

Author: Chris Rhodes

Topics: Industry, Tourism

Share this page

Stay up to date

  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts Commons Briefing papers

House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.