The United Kingdom is the United States’ largest overseas inbound market, accounting for 11.7% of all overseas visitations to the U.S. The United States is similarly the largest long-haul (outside of Europe) destination market for travelers from the U.K., accounting for more than a fifth (21%) of all international travel to non-European destinations by U.K. residents.
Visitations from the U.K. to the U.S. declined considerably in 2016 and 2017 due in large part to the relatively strong U.S. dollar compared to the pound sterling. The Brexit referendum in June 2016 and its subsequent effect on the value of the pound sterling and the British economy has likely contributed to the decline.
As a result of the decline in U.K. visitations to the U.S.—and very strong growth in U.S. visitations to the U.K.—for the first time in decades, the U.S. travel trade surplus with the U.K. turned into a travel trade deficit. Although growth in U.K. visitations to the U.S. resumed in 2018, the number of arrivals has not yet returned to 2015 levels. Brexit remains a risk as of October 2019, and a further decline in the value of the pound sterling or a slowdown in the U.K. economy may result in additional stagnation (or declines) in British visitations to the U.S.
The attached Country Profile offers a snapshot of the U.K. travel market and of the latest trends in visitations by residents of the U.K. to the U.S.