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Figures for the first 9 months of 2016 show that there has been a substantial increase of 12% in the number of overseas visitors

First published:
19 January 2017
Last updated:

This was published under the 2016 to 2021 administration of the Welsh Government

The International Passenger Survey, published by the Office for National Statistics today, shows that Wales welcomed 856,000 overseas visitors in the first 9 months of 2016, an increase of  12% compared to the first 9 months of 2015 and  the highest increase among the nations of the UK. 

The figures also show that while there has been a small increase in expenditure across the UK as a whole, but Wales has recorded substantial increases of 9% compared with the first three quarters of 2015, which was itself a record breaking year.

Cabinet Secretary for the Economy and Infrastructure, Ken Skates, said: 

“This is fantastic news for Wales. The tourism industry in Wales and Visit Wales are to be congratulated for the high quality products, sustained investment, innovation and welcome  - which make Wales such an attractive place to visit. We’ve seen private sector innovation supported by Welsh government investment lead to products which have given Wales global attention – and the boost given to Wales’ profile during the Euros last year cannot be underestimated. 

“The Year of Adventure in 2016 provided focus for marketing and product development which gave people compelling reasons to visit Wales. The Year of Legends 2017 campaign is now being introduced in our key markets - starting with Germany. Our aim is to sustain these remarkable figures, but also work to increase our market share of overseas visitors to the UK. We now look forward to working with the industry to maximise north Wales’ listing as one of the ten places to visit in the world during 2017 by the Lonely Planet while also preparing to welcome fans to the single biggest sporting event in the work - the UEFA Champions League Final in June.” 

For Wales and for the UK as a whole, around 70% of international visits in the first nine months of 2016 came from Europe.  The total of visits from Europe to Wales (594,000) is 10% higher than in the first 9 months of 2015. (We do not have a breakdown by individual countries at this stage.)

Visits from North America to Wales (106,000) were 9 % up compared with the first 9 months of 2015.