American travelers remained Britain's single-largest and most valuable inbound visitor market in 2022, according to new data from VisitBritain.
U.S. visitors spent a record-breaking $7.45 billion exploring Britain last year, serving as a driving force in the country's post-pandemic tourism industry recovery. What's more, American spending in Britain last year amounted to a 42 percent increase over even pre-pandemic spending in the country.
The just released data points were gleaned from the International Passenger survey (IPS) and the Office of National Statistics (ONS). Visitor numbers from the U.S. also surpassed pre-pandemic levels, with the U.K. recording some 4.56 million US visitors in 2022, which is a 2 percent increase over 2019.
The vast majority of the Americans traveling to Britain are doing so for leisure trips (48 percent), while 29 percent visited to spend time with friends and relatives, and in last place, 13 percent of American travelers were in Britain for business purposes.
Americans are also spending more time in the country when they visit Britain. The average length of stay for U.S. visitors in 2022 was nine nights. That figure is notable because its one night longer than the average globally for visitors to Britain. Furthermore, it's a 38 percent increase over the U.S. average of 6.5 nights per trip in 2019.
Nearly half of U.S. visitor nights in the U.K. were spent in London (46 percent), with the remainder of nights spread across the rest of England (36 percent), Scotland (17 percent), Wales (1 percent) and Northern ireland (0.5 percent).
Globally, meanwhile, Britain welcomed a total of 31.2 million inbound visitors in 2022, which is a 24 percent decline from 2019. Spending from global visitors in 2022 also amounted to a decline compared to pre-pandemic levels, down 7 percent compared to 2019 (or 17 percent when adjusted for inflation.)
Looking forward, VisitBritain is projecting that the country will welcome 35.1 million visitors in 2023. That's still about 14 percent less than 2019, but is 18 percent higher than 2022.