What are the UK’s top long-haul source markets for tourists?

A plane parked up at Heathrow

New research from ForwardKeys, revealed at WTM London 2019, finds that more tourists are coming to the UK from the US, Australia and India than any other country

The travel industry analysis firm, working in partnership with WTM London, looked at long-haul flight bookings to the UK between 1 October 2018 and 30 September 2019 and compiled a list of the 30 most popular long-haul countries and the 50 most popular long-haul cities, noting some ‘significant’ new entrants. Results were then benchmarked against the same time period one year before and five years before.

Nigeria registered a 13.7-per-cent year-on-year increase in inbound arrivals to the UK, finding its way back into the top 10 (supplanting the United Arab Emirates), and Bangladesh grew by 32.5 per cent, entering the top 30 and knocking Chile off its spot. China also registered an impressive increase of 19.8 per cent, as did Taiwan, with 16 per cent.

In terms of cities, New York, Hong Kong and Sydney were the top three, while Abuja, Delhi and Miami were the three highest risers, registering increases of 21 per cent, 21 per cent and 20 per cent respectively. Each climbed four or more places in this year’s ranking compared with last year.

“Overall connectivity between the UK and the US is improving,” said Olivier Ponto, Vice-President of Insights at ForwardKeys, “[and] there is more competition with flights which reduces the cost of airfares. The UK has become a cheaper destination and it’s easier to get to.”