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New report highlights growth in visitors to UK with a health condition or impairment

A new report from national tourism agency VisitBritain looks at the needs and experiences of inbound visitors to Britain with a health condition or impairment, and highlights how such visits have grown since 2010.


Inbound visits to the UK by those with a health condition or impairment have grown by 7% in volume and 25% in value since 2010. Within this, the growth in visitors using a wheelchair saw the biggest rise, up by 123%.

711,000 trips or 1.9% of the total inbound overnight visits to the UK in 2018 were taken by those with an impairment or travelling within a group where a member had an impairment. The total expenditure generated by these visits is estimated to be £483 million, or 2.1% of all inbound visitor spending in 2018.

What’s more, the research shows that those with a health condition and their travelling group are more likely to stay for longer and to spend more that the UK inbound average.


The health conditions or impairments most likely to be mentioned by inbound visitors were those relating to mobility (but not requiring wheelchair use), representing 29% of all impairments mentioned. Deafness / partial hearing loss and having a long term illness were also prevalent impairments. Wheelchair users made up 19% of visitors with an impairment.

There was a clear correlation between the age of a visitor to the UK and the likelihood of them reporting a health condition or impairment. 65% of those visiting with an impairment were over 55 in age compared to 21% across UK average.

The USA was by far the largest source market for visitors with an impairment and their travelling companions, while long haul markets Australia and Canada also feature highly within the source market rankings. The lack of a language barrier may be a driving factor for a UK visit amongst this audience.

Janet Redler, Chief Executive of Janet Redler Travel & Tourism, said: “The increase in awareness of health conditions across the UK travel industry, along with the huge strides we have seen in accessibility in recent years, means that many more people with impairments are likely to choose to visit the UK.

“At Janet Redler Travel & Tourism, we take the health conditions and impairments of our travellers extremely seriously and we pride ourselves in creating tailor-made itineraries that effectively meet the needs and abilities of our clients. Our team of travel professionals includes a full-time wheelchair user and we work closely with hotels, transport providers and attractions to help make sure they meet the needs of all our travellers.”

To find out more about the new research and to download the full report click here

If you or your group would like to enjoy a tailor-made tour of the UK or Ireland, customised to your - or your clients' - health needs, please do contact our friendly team today. 

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