Holidaymakers who got stuck in monster traffic on their way to Dover and the Eurotunnel last weekend can attest to the fact that we are now in peak holiday season. According to the ONS, Brits made 65.7m foreign trips last year, while there were 36m visits to UK from overseas in the same period.

There was one very big winner when it comes to attracting UK tourists: one in five overseas visits by British residents last year were to Spain, almost 13m trips in all. The reverse isn’t quite as popular: Spanish residents made an estimated 2.2m trips to the UK in the same period.

Tourism to and from the UK

In terms of the total number of visits, Spanish people were the fifth most frequent visitors to the UK last year. France topped that list with 4.2m trips, followed by Americans (3.3m visits), Germans (3.2m) and Irish people (2.6m). All four countries also feature in the top-10 destinations for UK residents.

British people made almost 6.5m trips to Portugal, Greece and Turkey collectively last year. But that level of tourism was not reciprocated, with just over 800,000 trips made in the other direction.

The ONS bases its travel and tourism estimates on responses from visitors arriving to and leaving the UK who take part in the International Passenger Survey.

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