Top 10 most visited destinations by Britons in 2019: map

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption England is the only British territory in the top ten most visited destinations

At the top of the latest worldwide list of the world’s top ten most visited destinations by Britons is Great Britain – with the other nine, including Paris, New York and Paris, all in Europe.

Four of the top five are in France – with Paris claiming the top spot in 2019, topping the list by three million visitors.

The count of Britons visiting European destinations plummeted during the economic downturn of 2008/09, but has since bounced back.

And elsewhere in Europe, the ranks of the top ten UK tourist destinations have continued to swell.

First came Paris in 2017, followed by the likes of Amsterdam and Vienna.

Globally, Spain remains the most popular destination for British visitors.

Tourism is now a multi-billion pound industry in Spain. London also remains the UK’s most popular destination, with Manchester and Birmingham just behind.

How did this happen?

As a result of the economic downturn that followed the 2008 financial crisis, the government introduced Government Sponsored Travel Enterprise schemes aimed at persuading Britons to holiday at home.

While popular in parts of the British empire, this scheme had limited success in Britain.

So the UK government increased tax breaks for British holiday makers and replaced them with an even more generous scheme called the “British National Holidays for British Businesses” in 2014.

Changes to the visa regime were also made in 2014, which meant that for the first time, Britons could apply for a visa at a British embassy or consulate abroad to avoid their passports being confiscated.

But the larger tax breaks for holidaymakers and reductions in the visa fee on the visa were the most key part of the UK’s migration strategy as it sought to turn British tourists away from Spain and the French Riviera, and towards destinations that avoided having to be part of free trade agreements with the EU.

The strategy also included the encouragement of more British visitors to stay in and around towns rather than in big hotels, thus freeing up beds in cities such as London.

And in 2014 the government launched Brexit visa, removing up to half of EU citizens’ current multiple entry visa requirement for long-stay visits to the UK, while extending the period of relaxation of visa rules for business trips and student travel to up to five years.

The country is also looking at what can be done to attract more Britons to France, including specialist French promotions, luxury holidays, and increasing visas to five years.

And beyond Britain, the government has also attempted to woo young French nationals to the UK, with new activity visas to cover up to four weeks of sightseeing trips.

How is Great Britain doing?

Image copyright PA Image caption London, Edinburgh and Manchester retain their ranks on the tourist hot-list

Although the total number of British visitors has plummeted in the five years since the Government’s emphasis on British tourism, in the last year they picked up slightly.

Brexit may have played a part in this – but not as much as Government efforts to encourage UK tourism.

In 2017, the number of UK visits to France rose 5.4% and tourists spent an average of £552 on their visit.

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