Tourism Overview | United Kingdom


By: Rosalinda Ruiz-Scarfuto

Tourism Historical Background

  • United Kingdom (UK) is comprised of several areas including Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and Britain.  European neighbours referred to the nation as England, land of English.  The expanded territories of the British Commonwealth created a network of outposts as far as Australia with potential visitors from abroad visiting the UK.
  • Urban tourism focused on London and was traditionally promoted by railways, financial entities, retailers, and trade commerce highlighting the exotic gardens or large scale exhibitions.
  • Rural tourism drove visitors out to Stonehenge and the Lakes District to Wordsworth and Wainwright.
  • Guides as early as 1800’s listed the sites to see.  Student guides appeared in the 20th century changing the tourist profile.


UK Ranking 2015

  • UK in 2015 was ranked 3rd in a world wide survey as a nation brand (USA 1st and Germany 2nd ).
  • UK ranked 4th out of 50 countries for Tourism and 5th for Culture.
  • UK ranked 6th in a place one “would like to visit if money was no object”.
  • UK ranked 3rd for “vibrant city life and urban attractions” especially “contemporary culture”,
  • UK ranked 6th for “cultural heritage” out of 50 nations.

Tourism as Economic Driver

  • According to Visit Britain 2015 report on trends, England tourism supports 80% of total visitor economy
  • A turnover of £106 BN a year and 2M jobs from direct and indirect services.
  • £85 BN accounted for direct income from tourism for England.
  • Tourism is spread across England ranging from 3.0 BN in the North to 26.6 BN in London
  • Domestic tourism spending totalled £19.6 BN in 2015 with102.7 M overnight stays.
  • Overseas visitor spending totalled£19.BN in 2014, including 29.8 M trips with 233 M overnight stays.
  • 1.3 BN day trips in 2015 with spending totalled at £ 46.4 BN.
  • Accommodation occupancy reached 70% in 2015.

UK Governmental Framework: Tourism Promotion/Funding

“We have been allocated £40m for the Discover England over 3 years (2016/17-2018/19) and as a trusted partner in the GREAT campaign, £22.8m GREAT funding for 2016/2017″ Source:


Private Sector Promoting Tourism 

  • Walking & Literary: Walking routes enrich the tourist offer with overnight stays for longer routes.  Several blogs specialize in British authors including Wordsworth, Wainwright, Tolkien, Woolf.
  • Film Industry: The Harry Potter 9 ¾ platform in Kings Cross Rail station draws crowds for a photo based on the book.  Tours start here.
  • Restaurants & Souvenirs: Food accounts for higher economic impacts than souvenirs unless special collections from local artists are promoted based on legendary figures.
  • Trusts & NGO: Trusts and NGO’s are charities independent from the government.  They are supported by memberships, subscriptions, and campaigns.  The National Trust promotes the renovation and preservation of heritage buildings.  It also promotes walks along heritage routes to visit sites with its “Days Out” campaign. Regional trusts are born out of a local flavour to preserve or buy heritage sites such as the York Trust.
  • Airlines: British Airways, Virgin, Easy Jet, and Quantas promote the UK between commonwealth countries and European cities.
  • Private tour operators: Pamphlets are on display in hotels and accommodations to promote local tour operators.



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