These latest figures make very disappointing reading for Wales.
The travel and tourism statistics published by The Office for National Statistics (ONS) are based on the results of the International Passenger Survey (IPS), but the running of the survey has been impacted because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. During 2021, the IPS survey restarted at the majority of ports but did not operate at Dover until Q3 and there were no interviews on the Eurotunnel through the entirety of 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. Therefore, the data for all passengers below does not represent the total inbound market for 2021 and is not directly comparable with historical UK total data.
There were 6.2 million inbound visits to the UK in 2021 with a gradual increase throughout the year as travel restrictions to the UK loosened and international travel resumed; 32% of visits were in Q3 and 59% were in Q4. Visitors spent £5.8bn in 2021 with Q4 generating the most spend at £3.0bn.
In total, 99.3 million nights were spent in the UK in 2021. The average spend per visit in 2021 was £934, but this excluded any spend by those departing the UK by the Eurotunnel and those departing by Dover (for the first half of 2021). The stats below demonstrate how small the Wales market is in comparison to London & the rest England combined London 2,585,000 visits £2.6 billion spend/Rest of England 3,131,000 visits £2.5 billion spend or even to Scotland at 536,000 visits £521 million spend. Wales had 116,000 visits with £60 million spend. Scotland had an average spend per head of £972 with Wales again lagging well behind with an average spend of around £517.