• Kat Colling

Inbound Tourism in the UK: Northern England


Here at Sunshine PR, we know all about the value of inbound tourism into the United Kingdom, with the tourism sector being the fastest growing sector of the UK in the last ten years in terms of employment. In our upcoming blog series we will be looking at the value of inbound tourism to the United Kingdom, and ways that you and your business can benefit from inbound tourism as well as the best ways to capture some of this market. We will look at tourism trends, marketing techniques and social media skills which will help shine a light on your business!

Northumberland at sunrise

Inbound tourism is defined by the World Tourism Organization as the “activities of the visitor travelling to a place outside his usual environment for not more than one consecutive year and not less than 24 hours”. Inbound travellers usually journey for leisure, business or to visit friends and relatives (F&R).


Inbound tourism is responsible for new job openings, reducing unemployment rates, improving the quality of life (especially in rural areas), broadening international relations, encouraging entrepreneurship and reducing poverty rates. This growing industry employs around 3.1 million people throughout the country and has directly contributed to GDP with over 68.2m GBP in 2017.


General UK and England inbound tourism statistics

It is easy to see the growth when looking at the statistics as provided by Visit Britain and Visit England, the nation’s tourism agency funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS). VisitBritain offer invaluable world-class research data across the sector; some of which we will break down for you below*. Overall they highlight the need for tourism businesses to marketing that’s both inspirational and relevant to consumers, alongside better targeted product development. Their main aim is to raise Britain’s profile worldwide by increasing the volume and value of tourism in the UK.


The UK has set the new inbound record in 2017 with 39.2 million visits, a growth of +4% compared to the results from 2016 and a total of 284.8 million overnight stays throughout the UK, up by +3% compared to 2016 results. The most impressive figure has to be the increased spend, with overall visitor spend increasing by 9% compared to the year before, an incoming figure of £24.5 billion to the UK economy.


England, helped by London’s huge international appeal, currently sees 87% of the total number of visitors, as well as 87% of all the spendings.


Northern England tourism results throughout years


Below we will look with more detail into the data surrounding the region of Northern England. This extends from the Scottish border to near the River Trent in the south. It comprises the regions of the North East, North West, and Yorkshire. This picturesque and cultural region includes stunning historical sites, industrial history and vibrant cities, so it’s no wonder that this particular region has a great tourism potential which should be exploited.



In 2017, the North had a total of 5 million visits resulting in spending a total of £2.4 billion. Although the numbers are quite high for the area, the results are quite divided between the three regions it consists of. For example, in 2017 the North East region saw a fall in the number of visits by 1% while at the same time the spend fell by an enormous 42% compared to the results from 2016 which was a record-setting year for this statistical region. Still, it marks a 27% increase in the total number of visits as well as a 30% increase in inbound visitors spending over the last 3 years.


On the other hand, last year brought spectacular results to the North West region with a growth of 11% in visits. 2017 was the first ever year to bring over 3 million visits to the NW region which resulted in setting a new record in inbound tourists’ spendings level of £1.6 billion (67% of all the tourism-related spendings in the North) making it the 5th year in a row in which the visitor spending topped £1 billion.


Yorkshire’s results are not as fantastic as the North West as the number of visits fell 2% compared to the year before, a total of 1.3 m visitor in 2017. This was however still a growth of 9% over the 3 year period compared to the previous one and although the total number of inbound visits has decreased, spending increased by a fantastic 10% in 2017 with leisure holidays and business visits making the most profit for this region.


The specifics of the region as a main tool for the growth


The numbers never lie! And what the ones above tell us is the enormous potential the region has to grow, as well as the additional market capture available to it from inbound tourists from all over Europe and the World. We want to help build the region, helping SME tourism businesses attract customers by developing a brand and narrative that consumers can rely on. Get in touch today to see how Sunshine PR can shine a light on your business!


* Latest figures as provided by Visit Britain

#socialmediamarketing #smm #marketingtips #inboundtourism

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