An increase in travellers from China and the US helped to drive a record number of overseas visitors to the UK during the first three months of 2017, according to new figures published by VisitBritain.
A total of 8.3m visits (up 10% year-on-year) took place during the first quarter, with spend up 16% to £4.4m. The weak pound helped boost the figures.
The number of visits from China between January and March grew 27% on the same period last year to 54,000, with visitors spending £91m (up 27%).
Meanwhile, visits from the US – the UK’s most valuable visitor market – grew by 16% to 641,000, with travellers spending £604m (up 29%).
Strong growth was also seen from France, with 991,000 visits, up 9% on the first quarter of last year and spend up 15% to £321m.
Patricia Yates, VisitBritain director, said: “It is very encouraging to see such strong growth from some of our largest and most valuable markets, including France and the US, as well as markets that are important for our future, such as China.
“With forward-bookings for international arrivals tracking ahead for the coming months, we are anticipating a strong summer holiday season as we promote the message of value and welcome globally, showing people why they should book a holiday to Britain right now.”
Tourism is worth £127b annually to the UK economy.