OXFORD

Tourism is an essential part of Oxford’s vibrant economy. The popular ‘City of Dreaming Spires‘ is significantly known for its rich history, prestigious universities, and stunning architecture.

How many tourists visit Oxford each year?

  • Oxford attracts around 7 million visitors each year, including day-trippers and those who opt for overnight stays, generating £780 million in revenue for local businesses1
  • Over 425,000 international visitors travelled to Oxford in 2022, compared to 581,000 international visitors in 2019 (pre-pandemic)2.
  • In 2021, Oxford ranks as the UK’s ninth most popular destination for international travelers seeking overnight stays3.

2022

How many tourists visited Oxford in 2022?

Over 425,000 international visitors travelled to Oxford in 20222

  • International visitors were up 82.82% when compared to 73,000 visitors from 2021, but still down 26.85% from 2019.
  • The total night spent by international tourists in 2022 is estimated at  over 3.23 million, which increased by 66.98% from 2021. 

How much do tourists spend in Oxford in 2022?

International visitors spent over £313 million during their trips to Oxford in 20222.

  • Spending was increased by 83.07% when compared with the £53 million spent by visitors in 2021.
  • The average spend per visit for international tourists was £737 in 2022, which was an increase of 1.22% from 2021 and 15.34% when compared to 2019.

What were the reasons for visiting Oxford in 2022? 

  • Visiting Friends and Relatives remained the number one (since pandemic) purpose of visits to Oxford by international visitors in 2022, with 150,000 visits4 made for this reason (35.29% of total visits). 
  • Holiday trips came in second with 146,000 visits4, accounting for 34.35% of all Oxford visits in 2022. 
  • 95,000 visits4 to Oxford were for Business Reasons in 2022 (22.35% of total visits). 
  • Study-related visits to Oxford accounted for 5.18% of all visits in 2022 (22,000 visits)4.
  • Aside from the above, Oxford is also visited for miscellaneous purposes (13,000 visits in 2022, 3.06% of the total number of visits)4. These include visits for sporting events, shopping, health-related reasons, religious purposes and more.

2021

How many tourists visited Oxford in 2021?

Oxford welcomed 73,000 international visitors in 20212.

  • A decrease of 87.44% when compared with the number of international visitors from 2019 (pre-pandemic year).
  • Over 1.07 million overnight stays by international visitors were recorded in 2021, which was down 75.21% when compared to 2019.

How much did tourists spend in Oxford in 2021?

International visitors spent over £53 million in direct expenditure during 2021 in Oxford2.

  • This was 85.71% down in expenditure from 2019.
  • The average international visitor to Oxford spent a total of £728 in 2021 during their visit, an increase of 13.93% from the spend per visit in 2019 (£639).

What were the main purposes of visiting Oxford in 2021? 

  • Visiting Friends and Relatives became the primary reason for tourists to visit Oxford in 2021, a change from prior to the pandemic, amounting to 42,000 visits4 which was 57.53% of the total visits in 2021. 
  • This was followed by visits for Business Reasons which amounted to 13,000 visits (17.81% of total visits to Oxford in 2021). 
  • With total visits of 11,000 in 2021, holidays ranked 3rd4. This accounted for 15.07% of overall visits to Oxford.
  • Visits for Study Reasons comprised 5.48% of total visits to Oxford in 2021 (4,000 visits)4.
  • Apart from the top four reasons mentioned, there were also miscellaneous visits (4.11% of total visits to Oxford in 2021)4 which included the visit reason for attending sporting events, shopping, health-related reasons, religious purposes, and more.

2020

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, no data is available for April – December of 2020 as the IPS was suspended.

2019

How many tourists visited Oxford in 2019?

581,000 tourists and other visitors arrived in Oxford during 20192.

  • For this year, the international visitors spent a total of 4.30 million nights in Oxford, with an average stay of 7 nights.

How much do tourists spend in Oxford in 2019?

Oxford’s international visitors spent over £371 million of direct expenditure in 20192.

  • The average international visitor of Oxford spent a total of £639 over their visits in 2019, with an average spend of £86 per day.

What were the main reasons for visiting Oxford in 2019? 

  • Holiday visits were the primary purpose for tourists visting Oxford in 2019 with a total of 241,000 visits4, amounting to 41.48% of all visits to Oxford in 2019.
  • The second most common reason was Visiting Friends and Relatives, which was recorded at 145,000 (24.96% of total visits to Oxford in 2019)4
  • This was followed by Business Reason trips which had a total of 124,000 visits (21.34% of total visits to Oxford in 2019)4
  • Visits for Study Reasons amounted to 8.61% of total visits to Oxford in 2019 (50,000 visits)4.
  • Apart from the top four reasons mentioned, there were also miscellaneous visits (21,000 visits and 3.61% of total visits to Oxford in 2019)4 which included attending sporting events, shopping, health-related reasons, religious purposes, and more.

How popular is Oxford as a tourist destination?

In 2022, Oxford was ranked 9th among the most popular destinations in the UK for international visitors.

uk-inbound-visitors-2022-top-destinations-by-visits

How much money did Oxford earn from tourism in 2022?

Oxford ranked 7th in the UK by tourism spending in 2022, earning £313 million from international visitors.

uk-inbound-visitors-2022-top-destinations-by-spends

How long do international tourists typically stay for in Oxford?

  • 2022: International visitors stayed for an average of 8 nights in Oxford
  • 2021: International visitors stayed for an average of 15 nights in Oxford
  • 2019: International visitors stayed for an average of 7 nights in Oxford
uk-inbound-visitors-2022-top-destinations-average-nights-spent

How much do international tourists typically spend per visit in Oxford? 

  • On average, international visitors spent £737 per visit in 2022, placing Oxford 8th in terms of average spending by tourists in the UK.
uk-inbound-visitors-2022-top-destinations-average-spend-per-visit

References

  1. OCC: Statistics about Oxford ↩︎
  2. ONS: Inbound and Outbound Tourism, UK ↩︎
  3. VisitBritain: Inbound visits and spend – Annual, Regional ↩︎
  4. VisitBritain: Inbound visits and spend – trends by UK town ↩︎