TORONTO — Canadians have had a lot to do with the UK’s recovery, contributing 897,000 tourism arrivals in 2022 and spending a record-breaking amount.
According to VisitBritain, Britain’s national tourism agency, visits from Canada to the United Kingdom last year increased by 3% over 2019. Plus, total spend saw a record-breaking total of $1.57 billion, up 27% over 2019, reports the Office for National Statistics. Spend per visit increased by almost a quarter, from $1,411 per trip in 2019 to $1,750 in 2022, with growth recorded across all trip purposes.
Average length of stay for inbound Canadian travellers also grew by two nights in 2022, to 11 nights, three nights higher than the global average of eight nights.
The Canadian market saw an impressive movement up the rankings scoreboard in 2022, ascending five ranks in both volume and value to sit within the top 10 key source markets. Canada currently represents the ninth largest and seventh largest most valuable market to the UK.
“We are thrilled to see this strong post-pandemic recovery form the Canadian market, demonstrating that Britain remains a favourite destination for Canadians,” said Paul Gauger, VisitBritain’s Executive Vice President, The Americas, Australia & New Zealand. “With its connections of family and friends, Canadians love to explore the arts & culture, food & drink, and heritage of the UK.”
Gauger also noted that Britain and Canada share strong ancestral ties, and that visiting friends and relatives (VFR) are leading in terms of volume of visits from the Canadian market. VFR overtook holiday visits to become the most popular trip purpose for the UK, representing 47% of trips, followed by holidays at 37%.
Globally, in 2022, the UK welcomed 31.2 million visits following two years of low visits due to the pandemic. Visits in each quarter of 2022 increasingly neared pre-pandemic levels, with overall visits recorded at 24% below 2019 levels. Visitors spent $4.3 billion during the 12 months of 2022, down 7% on 2019 and down 17% in real terms when taking inflation into account. Q4 in 2022 reached a record $12.9 billion. In total, 262.9 million nights were spend in the UK by inbound visitors, down 9% on 2019.
Looking ahead, VisitBritain’s latest forecast for 2023 projects that this year Britain will welcome 35.1 million inbound visitors (-14% on 2019 and +18% over 2022), spending will reach £29.5 billion (+4% on 2019 and +14% higher than 2022).