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Inbound tourism to UK hits highest-ever level in July

23 September 2016
Inbound tourism to UK hits highest-ever level in July

July saw the highest-ever levels of inbound tourism to the UK, with 3.8m visits.

That's according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics and VisitBritain, which said the number was up 2% on July last year.

Overseas visitors' spending was also high in July at this year, hitting £2.5b - up 4% on the same month a year ago.

It was also a record July for inbound visits from EU countries, the UK's largest visit-generating region, with 2.3 million visits, 3% up on last year.

The new figures bring inbound visits for 2016 so far to 21.1 million, up 2% on the same period last year and a record year-to-date. Spending by visitors during this period was £11.7b.

Tourism Minister Tracey Crouch said: "Britain is a world-class visitor destination with our stunning countryside, historic buildings and vibrant culture scene attracting a record number of visits from around the globe.

"Tourism makes an enormous contribution to our economy and we will continue to support the industry to ensure it thrives and that growth in the sector benefits the whole country."

VisitBritain/VisitEngland chief executive Sally Balcombe said: "We want Britain to be top of people's list as a 'must-go now' destination and we have an immediate and real opportunity to promote Britain as a great value destination, particularly in our long-haul high spending markets such as China and the US.

"We are refreshing our successful global #OMGB 'Britain, Home of Amazing Moments' campaign with stunning content from across our nations and regions to inspire visitors to put Britain at the top of their 'wish list', and working with commercial partners across the travel industry to ensure that inspiration to visit is converted into bookings, boosting the economy and jobs across our nations and regions."

VisitBritain's 'Home of Amazing Moments' advertising campaign is being launched on a rolling cycle globally from the autumn.

China moved into Britain's top 10 most valuable inbound visitor markets for the first time last year with visits up 46% to 270,000 and spend up 18% to £586 million. VisitBritain launched a digital marketing campaign across China earlier this month in partnership with Hainan Airlines and Tunui.com, one of China's leading online travel agents, to make it easier to book a holiday to regional Britain.

Spend from inbound visits from the US, Britain's most valuable inbound market, topped £3 billion last year, the first time a single visitor market has broken the £3 billion spending mark. VisitBritain is launching a new marketing push in the US, as well as France and Germany, Britain's three largest and most valuable inbound visitors markets, through a partnership with Expedia from October.

Last month UK Prime Minister Theresa May launched a 'Tourism Action Plan' to ensure that Britain remains a top destination for visitors from across the globe.

Last year set a record for inbound tourism to Britain on visits and spend with 36.1 million visits, 5% up on 2014, and spending up 1% to £22.1 billion.

Inbound tourism is worth more than £26 billion to the UK economy.

PwC predicts record occupancy levels for provincial hotels >>

BHA calls for reassurance that EU workers can stay following Brexit >>

Sun shines on August sales figures for pub groups >>

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Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

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