UK 2017 Overseas Visitors A Record, CDN Visits At 12-Year High

Open Jaw, Kerry Sharpe

In 2017 the UK welcomed a record 39.2 million overseas visits, up 4% on 2016. Among them were 835,000 Canadians, a 1% increase over the prior year and the highest number since 2006. In terms of spend, international visitors spent $42B in 2017, up 9% on 2016, according to the latest official statistics from Britain’s national tourism agency VisitBritain. However, Canadian spend has fallen 5% compared to 2016.

Pointing to Britain and Canada’s “strong ancestral ties,” visiting friends and relatives lead in terms of volume of visits from the Canadian market, up 10% on 2016 at 374,000. The number of holiday visits declined by 7% to 310,000. Business travel was up 11% to 83,000.

“Britain remains a favourite destination for Canadians,” said Gavin Landry, executive vice president, VisitBritain. “With its connections of family and friends, Canadians love to explore the culture, local flavours and heritage of the UK. The launch of our new ‘I Travel For’ campaign has further encouraged Canadians to follow their passions and explore beyond Britain’s famous landmarks to experience a more unexpected side of Britain.

“Additionally, Canadians have enthusiastically welcomed our ‘Love is GREAT’ campaign which promotes welcome, diversity and inclusion to LGBTQ travellers to visit Britain. For the second year, the UK government is participating in Pride parades across Canada in four cities: Toronto, Vancouver, Ottawa and Montreal. With our rainbow Union Jack flag, we proudly celebrate the 40th anniversary of the rainbow flag.”

Kerry Sharpe

Kerry Sharpe Columnist

Having worked in travel for the last 16 years, Kerry has experience covering the industry as media, as well as being under its lens when she worked for Thomas Cook, TravelBrands and itravel2000. A new mom, Kerry recently returned to the workforce and when she’s not chasing after her daughter, you’ll see her out and about covering industry events alongside her new BFF Tina the Travel Agent.

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