Highest-ever visitor numbers and spending in July

Figures released today show that inbound tourism in July was the highest ever for inbound to the UK since official records began in 1961.There were a record four million overseas visits to the UK during the period, the first month to ever break through the four million mark, and up 6% on the same period last year.

Overseas visitors spent £2.8bn in the UK, which also broke the record for the highest tourist spending.

Strong growth in visits from North America continued in July with a record 650,000 visits, up 9% on last year.

John Glen, tourism minister, said: “Tourism is a major economic force that creates jobs and drives growth for the whole of the country. These record figures show the continued strength of this important sector and the UK’s global position as a must-visit destination.”

Patricia Yates, VisitBritain director, added that the best-ever monthly figures underpinned a strong first half of the year for inbound tourism.

She said: “This sustained growth demonstrates Britain’s continued ability to compete internationally for visitors and shows that tourism, one of our most valuable export industries, is an increasingly important driver of economic growth across our nations and regions.”

Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures have brought the total number of overseas visits to the UK from January to July this year to 23.1 million, up 8% on the same period last year and a record year–to-date. Spending by visitors during this period hit a record £13.3bn, up 9% on the same period last year.

There were 2.9 million overseas visits from North America from January to July, up 21% on the same period last year, as well as 15.1 million overseas visits from EU countries, the UK’s largest visitor-generating region, 4% up on last year.

Visits from the rest of the world, which includes Australia, China, the Gulf markets and India, were up to a record 3.6 million from January to July this year, up 18% on the same period last year.

Last year set a record for inbound tourism to Britain on visits and spend with 37.6 million visits, up 4% on 2015 with visitors spending £22.5 billion, up 2%.

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