TORONTO — VisitBritain says 2017 “was an outstanding year” for overseas visits to the UK, and that includes this market with Canadian arrivals up 1% to 835,000, the highest level since 2006.
Overall the UK welcomed a record 39.2 million overseas visitors in 2017, up 4%. International visitors spent £24.5 billion in 2017, up 9% on 2016, according to VisitBritain.
While visitor numbers from Canada were up, spend was down. Canadian spend in the UK fell to £604 million, down 5% compared to a record year in 2016.
The VFR (visiting friends and relatives) market continues to drive volume from this Canadian market, up 10% on 2016 with 374,000 visits. 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. 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,” said VisitBritain Executive Vice President, The Americas, Gavin Landry.
“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.”
Here’s a quick look at how the UK nations fared in 2017, for inbound tourism:
Inbound tourism visits across the English regions, outside of London, reached a record 16.5 million, up 3% with spending equalling the previous record of £7.8 billion.
Records were also set for the number of visits to London, up 4% on 2017 to 19.8 million, with spending up 14% to a record £13.5 billion.
There were 1.1 million inbound visits to Wales, with spending of £369 million.
Inbound visits to Scotland were up 17% to 3.2 million, with a record spend of £2.3 billion, up 23%.