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Number of tourists visiting UK rises

14 September 2007 by

The number of tourists visiting the UK has increased in the 12 months to July despite the recent blip from April to June, official figures revealed today.

In the 12 months to July visits by overseas residents to the UK rose 6% from 31.2 million to 32.9 million, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The year-on-year figures offset the recent decrease in tourist visits, down 5% to eight million in the three months to July, compared with the previous three months. The associated spending was down 3% to £3.9b in the same period.

The industry witnessed its first fall in tourist spend since 2003 from April to June this year.

Tim Helliwell, head of hotel finance at Barclays Business Banking, said: "The strength of the pound against the dollar seems now to be having an impact. The recent figures about how expensive it is to eat out in London only go to highlight that the US market finds London in particular a tough place to visit. However in general, the UK is solid.

"A number of issues will come into play as we look toward October and November. Corporate travel will be increasing with the conference season, so people will be coming to the UK come what may. Operators looking at their forward sales will however be wondering what impact, if any, the recent headlines about the financial markets will have," he added.

Tourist spend falls for first time since 2003 >>

UK tourism deficit increases >>

By Dee Rossi

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