A record number of overseas tourists travelled to Britain during the first two months of 2017, up 6% on the same period last year, according to new figures published by VisitBritain.
The 5.2 million visits also resulted in a record spend of £2.7b in January and February, a year-on-year increase of 11%.
The growth in visitor numbers included a 5% increase to 3.6million visits from the EU and a 2% increase to 400,000 visits from North America, while the rest of the world produced a 15% increase in visits to 790,000.
Patricia Yates, director of VisitBritain said the figures had created “a cracking start” to 2017 for inbound tourism.
“Britain is offering great value for overseas visitors and we can see the success of our promotions in international markets,” she said. “We must continue to build on our message of welcome and value in our high spending markets such as China, the US and the valuable European market.”
Tourism minister Tracey Crouch added that the record-breaking start to the years underlined the strength of the UK tourism industry.
“Our fantastic welcome and world-class attractions are continuing to attract huge number of visitors from across the glove, which is great news for the whole country,” she said.
VisitBritain has predicted that by the end of the year, a record number of 38.8 million visits will have taken place, with spending reaching £23.9b, up from 2016 when 37.3 overseas visits to the UK took place, with visitors spending £22.2b.
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