IPS second quarter headlines

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I am reproducing a note from Kurt Janson Director of the Tourism Alliance summarising some of the headlines from the recently released International  Passenger Survey. These are of concern given the recent focus on international tourism within England and the apparent previous boost from the post Brexit announcement on the pound.  Please not the caveats on small sample sizes.  Hopefully just a temporary glitch:


Following is a cut and paste from VisitBritain of the Journey Purpose and Origin Market data from the Q2 IPS figures. They show Holiday visits down 8%, while VFR visitors were up 6% (although spend was down 4%) and Business travel was down massively with visits down 15% and spend down 30%.

There was also a huge fall in Misc sector which includes study – 32% –  although spend there was down by only 6%

There is also a health warning on the data in the market performance table as the sample size for a number of the countries is small and the margin for error can be significant but, overall, it shows a fairly consistent fall in visitors across all markets with the exception of China, Japan and UAE. Of particular concern will be the 12% decline in US visitors as they are the UK’s largest spending market by some margin.


Journey purpose:

  • Holiday visits and spend both fell from Q2 2017’s records. Visits fell 8% to 4.3 million; spend fell by a milder 4% to £2.8 billion.
  • Journeys to visit friends or relatives (VFR) rose by 6% to 3.0 million – the first time the UK has welcomed 3 million VFR visits in any Q2 period. VFR spending fell 4% from Q2 2017’s record to £1.3 billion.
  • Compared to a record setting Q2 2017 business visits fell 15% to 2.1 million and spending was down 30% to £1.1 billion in Q2 2018.
  • Visits for miscellaneous purposes (including study) fell by 32% to 554,000 with spending down 6% to £670 million

Q2 2018 – selected marketsIPS 2nd quarter

Please note that for many markets base sizes on a quarterly basis can be small and confidence intervals can be wide, especially for spending data.

Best regards,

Kurt Janson


Tourism Alliance



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