Britain sees record-breaking inbound tourism for first half of 2014

14 August 2014 by
Britain sees record-breaking inbound tourism for first half of 2014

Inbound tourism to Britain for the period January to June 2014 has broken all previous records, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

The number of inbound visits to the country increased 8% year-on-year to 16.4 million.

June also broke the record for the number of visits from overseas, at 3.18 million, up 10% from the same month in 2013. Spending for the month was also up 4%, setting a new record spend of £1.97b.

Holiday visits to Britain in June accounted for 44% of trips (at 1.4 million), setting a fifth monthly record for holiday visits so far this year, and 12% up on the same month in 2013. Business visits also increased (up 6% year-on-year), although they are not yet as high as 2008 levels.

The majority of visitors come from within the European Union, but visits from the rest of the world (Asia Pacific, Middle East, Latin America and Africa) were also up 2%.

David Edwards, head of research and forecasting at national tourism agency VisitBritain, said: "Tourism is an essential part of the wider success of our economy and these first six months have set us up for what could be another record year for inbound tourism."

He also said that the number of visits from emerging markets in Asia and Latin America was "hugely positive".

Minister for tourism Helen Grant said: "It's fantastic that Britain's tourism industry is performing so strongly with a record number of visits for 2014 so far and highest ever spend for June. It shows the government's tourism strategy is working - creating more jobs, encouraging greater spend and growing the economy."

The head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays Bank, Mike Saul, also commented on the results, attributing the year's success to increased spending from emerging economies, along with high spending from the US, France and Germany.

"The UK's fine heritage, world-leading attractions and vibrant retail offering continue to attract increasing numbers of overseas visitors," he said.

"With industry leaders signalling increased marketing spend this year at the expense of more aggressive pricing, the industry is currently experiencing an upturn in fortunes."

The results come just three months after the ONS announced record inbound tourism levels for 2013.

New chief executive of VisitBritain sought >>

VisitBritain welcomes record inbound tourism numbers for 2013 >>

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