Swindon & Wiltshire Business News

Record year for inbound tourism forecast for 2020


A record number of foreign visitors are expected to come to the UK in 2020, according to the country's national tourism agency, VisitBritain.

The number of overseas visits to the UK is forecast to rise in 2020 to 39.7 million, the highest ever, and up 2.9 percent on 2019 which is expected to see about 38.5 million visits by year end.

And spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach a record £26.6 billion in 2020, a 6.6 percent increase on spending in 2019 which is expected to top out at £25 billion.

During the last decade inbound tourism visits to the UK have grown 33 percent when comparing 2010 to the 2020 forecast and spending by 58 percent.

VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said: “Tourism is one of the UK’s most valuable export industries and these results show our continued ability to attract international visitors in a fiercely competitive global market.

"We are seeing success in growing tourism from our long-haul, high-spending markets including the US, our largest and most valuable inbound market, and from markets that are crucial for our future such as China.

“Working with partners globally we are telling customers about experiences they can only have here, converting the inspiration to visit into bookings and driving growth from tourism across the nations and regions, boosting local economies.”

Tourism is worth £127 billion to the UK economy, boosting economic growth across its nations and regions. The industry is also a job creator, for every 22 inbound visits from China for example, one job is created in Britain’s tourism industry.

Increased visitor numbers is particularly good news for Wiltshire. With 1.38m visitors last year, Stonehenge is the UK's fourth most popular tourist destination outside London.