Tourism in the United Kingdom

Tourism in the United Kingdom

the United Kingdom recorded a total of 36 million tourists in 2018, ranking 10th in the world in absolute terms.

Without including the size of a country, such a ranking list may not be very meaningful. By putting the tourist numbers in relation to the population of the United Kingdom, the result is much more comparable picture: With 0.54 tourists per resident, the United Kingdom ranked 87th in the world. On the British Isles, it ranked 2nd.

The United Kingdom generated around 48.52 billion US Dollar in the tourism sector alone. This corresponds to 1.7 percent of its the gross domestic product.



Back to overview: United Kingdom


The most popular city in the United Kingdom for international travelers is London. In 2018 it reached the 3rd place of the world's most popular cities with 19.23 million tourists.

On average, each of the tourists arriving in 2018 spent about 1,193 US Dollars. Conversely, the inhabitants of the United Kingdom spend only around 874 dollars a year when they themselves spend vacations abroad.

Development of the tourism sector in the United Kingdom from 1995 to 2018

The following chart shows the number of tourist arrivals registered in the United Kingdom each year. Anyone who spends at least one night in the country but does not live there for more than 12 months is considered a tourist. Insofar as the survey included the purpose of the trip, business trips and other non-tourism travel purposes have already been excluded. The number of people passing through within the same day, and e.g. crew members of ships or flights are also not considered as tourists in most countries. If the same person travels in and out more than once within the same year, each visit counts again.

Data in the chart are given in millions of tourists. The red line represents the average of all countries on the British Isles.

Tourists per year in the United Kingdom

Revenues in tourism

In 1995, tourism revenues amounted to 27.58 billion USD, or about 2.1 percent of the gross national product. This corresponded to about 21.72 million tourists at that time and roughly 1,270 USD per person. Within 23 years, the country's dependence on tourism has decreased noticeably. In the last year of the survey, the revenue now amounts to 48.52 billion USD, accounting for 1.7 percent of the gross national product. Each visitor now spends an average of 1,336 USD for his holiday in the United Kingdom.

Tourism receipts in the United Kingdom per year

All data for the United Kingdom in detail

YearNumber of touristsReceipts% of GNPReceipts per tourist
199521.72 m27.58 bn $2.1 %1,270 $
199622.94 m29.18 bn $2.1 %1,272 $
199723.22 m30.48 bn $2.0 %1,313 $
199823.71 m31.66 bn $1.9 %1,335 $
199923.34 m30.81 bn $1.8 %1,320 $
200023.21 m29.98 bn $1.8 %1,291 $
200120.98 m26.14 bn $1.6 %1,246 $
200222.31 m27.82 bn $1.6 %1,247 $
200322.79 m30.74 bn $1.5 %1,349 $
200425.68 m37.17 bn $1.5 %1,447 $
200528.04 m41.74 bn $1.7 %1,488 $
200630.65 m45.95 bn $1.7 %1,499 $
200730.87 m51.35 bn $1.7 %1,663 $
200830.14 m48.62 bn $1.7 %1,613 $
200928.20 m39.04 bn $1.6 %1,385 $
201028.30 m34.72 bn $1.4 %1,227 $
201129.31 m38.81 bn $1.5 %1,324 $
201229.28 m40.93 bn $1.5 %1,398 $
201331.06 m46.04 bn $1.7 %1,482 $
201432.61 m51.58 bn $1.7 %1,582 $
201534.44 m50.90 bn $1.7 %1,478 $
201635.81 m47.78 bn $1.8 %1,334 $
201737.65 m47.72 bn $1.8 %1,267 $
201836.32 m48.52 bn $1.7 %1,336 $


All data correspond to the information of the World Tourism Organization.

Comparison: quality of lifeQuality of lifeCompare the quality of life around the globe: In which countries is life pleasant, safe and healthy?
Ranking: MegacitiesMega cities - the biggest cities all over the worldRanking of the biggest cities worldwide. On top: Shanghai, Beijing and Delhi
The daily quizThe Worlddata QuizTest your knowledge: 10 new questions every day about geography, demography and economics