A record-breaking number of overseas visitors to the UK was recorded during the first quarter of 2016, with strong growth from several markets including the US, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Germany.
A total of 7.5 million inbound visits took place, up 8% from the same period in 2015, beating the previous first quarter record of 7.2 million visits in 2008, according to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics. However, visitor spend was down 2% to £3.7b.
The growth in visits from Germany was particularly strong, increasing 24% to 602,000 with spend up 26% to £222m. A record number of inbound visits from Spain was also recorded, up 12% to 548,000, with spend rising 15% to £195m.
Visits from the UAE increased 15% to 77,000, another first quarter record, with spend up 9% to £105m.
Patricia Yates, director, VisitBritain, said the strong growth in visits from the UK's most important markets is "encouraging" at a time when the country is offering great value for inbound visitors.
"We are anticipating a strong summer holiday season as we spread this message of value and continue our global #OMGB Home of Amazing Moments marketing campaign. It's a great summer to come to Britain."
Last year saw a record number of inbound visits to Britain, up 5% year-on-year to 36.1 million visits, with spend up 1% to £22.1b.
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