International visits to the UK hit record numbers in January, according to latest figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The statistics, show 2.5 million international visits to the UK in the first month of the year, up 6% on January 2015, with visitors spending £1.28bn.
The rise is part of a continuing increase in tourism to Britain. Last year set a record for inbound tourism with 35.8 million visits to Britain, 4% up on 2014. Since 2010 international visits to Britain have risen by 20%, with 6 million more visits in 2015 than 2010.
VisitBritain director Patricia Yates welcomed the latest figures from the ONS, pointing out that the rise, while not as large as the record-breaking 3.7 million international visits made in July last year, marks a promising start to 2016.
Tourism is Britain's seventh largest export industry and third largest service sector with inbound tourism worth more than £26bn to the UK economy.
Yates said: "These record-breaking figures highlight the increasing year-round importance of inbound tourism to the UK economy. Tourism remains one of our fastest growing export industries but also one of the most globally competitive which is why we continue to showcase, through our international marketing campaigns, just why Britain should top people's list as a must-go now destination."
VisitBritain is continuing its campaign to drive this growth with the recent launch of its largest international marketing initiative for 2016, Great Britain ‘Home of Amazing Moments'. The programme, which focuses on social media, aims to promote memorable ‘moments' that can only be found in Britain to drive tourism across all the regions.