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Tourist spend to British regions breaks records, says VisitBritain

23 January 2015 by
Tourist spend to British regions breaks records, says VisitBritain

International tourist spend across Britain is at record levels according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics and analysis by tourist board VisitBritain.

Significantly, growth was also bigger in other regions than habitual tourist powerhouse London, suggesting an uptick in spend across the UK and not just in the capital.

The figures show that in the first nine months of 2014, all regions and countries within the UK saw faster-growing, record spend compared to the same period in 2013.

Spend in Wales was at £303m, Scotland at £1.5b, the East of England at £693m, the North West at £849m and the South East at £1.7b. London spend was at £8.9b.

Compared to the same period in 2013, from January to September 2014, overseas visits to Wales grew by 14%, to Scotland by 12%, and Yorkshire by 12%, versus a growth in London of 6%.

VisitBritain suggested that this would likely be due to Yorkshire's hosting of the cycling stage Le Tour de France Grand Départ in July, Gleneagles' hosting of the Ryder Cup in September, US President Obama's visit to Newport for the Nato Summit also in September, and the holding of the 2014 UEFA Super Cup in Cardiff in August.

European countries such as Spain, France and Germany also added further growth; Spanish visits, for example, were up 11% to 1.4m, back towards the record levels seen in 2011, while spend was up 17% compared to 2013, at £747m.

The results come ahead of VisitBritain's launch of its Countryside is Great campaign, which seeks to encourage visits across the UK, and push tourists to travel beyond London.

Patricia Yates, VisitBritain director of strategy and communications, said: "Inbound tourism is an export industry at which Britain is demonstrably successful, with further growth predicted this year. VisitBritain will continue to focus on the rebalancing of this growing industry in 2015 to benefit the whole country."

Tourism minister Helen Grant confirmed that the trend looked set to continue with £22b expected to be spent in the next year. She said: "I want overseas visitors to experience the very best of Britain; [it] has so much to offer tourists."

The figures also come at the same time as VisitEngland's posting of a strong Christmas period across the country, with the Tourism Business Monitor report showing that half of all accommodation providers in England, and 62% of attractions received more visitors this Christmas than in 2013.

Tourist spend predicted to increase by £1b in 2015 >>

VisitBritain on track to achieve record number of inbound tourists and spend >>

VisitBritain hails marketing success as inbound visitors hit record spend >>

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