Britain's welcome


Britain's Welcome

Welcome is an important factor in holiday decision making for those planning a trip outside their own country. Whilst perhaps not the headline pull of heritage, culture or beaches, perceptions of the welcome tourists receive when in Britain are significant.

Receiving a good welcome is strongly correlated to both enjoyment and being likely to recommend visiting Britain to others.

VisitBritain therefore monitors the actual level of welcome that visitors report they experience in Britain, as well as perceptions of Britain’s welcome in key markets around the world to understand both what people think and why.

Perceptions of welcome

The GfK Anholt Nation Brand Index, an annual global study, tells us that in general perceptions of the UK are positive. The study takes 1,000 people, who may or may not have visited the UK, in each of 20 panel markets and ranks nations on 23 attributes.
Out of twenty three aspects, Welcome was one of the only four for which the UK was ranked outside of the top ten, making Welcome one of our weakest areas. In 2017 the UK was ranked 13th out of 50 destinations for Welcome whilst for Tourism the UK came 3rd and for Culture we were 5th.


GfK 2017 ranking for UK 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
If visited, the people would make me feel very welcome 14 13 13 12 13 10 13 11 12 13


In the 2017 GFK NBI VisitBritain explored the various elements of a holiday welcome which will be influential before the trip, during the planning stages and other elements experienced on holiday. The results show welcome is composed of many elements and all of these are important –with no one single element standing out.

Experiences of welcome

Over recent years VisitBritain has sponsored questions on the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) survey of departing leisure visitors to monitor how welcome visitors felt in Britain as they ended their trip to fly home. Overall, visitors to Britain are experiencing high levels of welcome, and this has risen during this decade. Almost two fifths said they felt ‘extremely welcome’ in Britain in 2016, and a further 49% said ‘very welcome’.

Expectations of Britain visit

During 2015, in the same CAA survey we asked leisure visitors how different trip elements met their expectations. Encouragingly the UK’s quality of tourist attractions, at least met expectations for the overwhelming majority of visitors (98%). Similarly high results were recorded for the friendliness of British people (98%) and overall 99% enjoyed their visit to the UK – over half said their enjoyment expectations were exceeded.

Welcome and Expectations

VisitBritain know receiving a good welcome is strongly linked to overall enjoyment of a visit to Britain. Indeed whilst the proportion of visitors who felt unwelcome during their visit to the UK is small, the level of welcome reported by respondents does have a direct impact on the overall enjoyment of their visit.

Overall likelihood to recommend

To round off this topic, in 2015, VisitBritain used it sponsor questions on the International Passenger Survey to ask a question about the likelihood of departing visitors to recommend a visit to Britain to friends and family.