India has become the largest of the emerging new markets in terms of volume of visitors to Britain, according to new figures released by VisitBritain.
There were a record 375,000 visits to Britain from India last year, up 11% on 2012, with spend increasing 32% to £441m, second only to China in total value.
Work is already underway to strengthen tourism ties between the two countries, with UKinbound and the European tourism association ETOA having agreed earlier this year to maintain a strong relationship their counterparts in India.
And today the Indian Market Seminar is being hosted by VisitBritain, UKinbound and ETOA at Lord's cricket ground to looks at ways of generating more tourism business in the future. VistBritain suggests that the number of annual visits to Britain from India has the potential to reach half a million by 2020.
Keith Beecham, acting chief executive of VisitBritain said that while China grabs the headlines as a major tourism market of the future, it is India that is "one of our most loyal and the largest in volume" of the emerging BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India and China.
"Indian visitors have a higher propensity to travel beyond London, so they are a hugely valuable market in terms of spreading the regional benefits of international tourism across the country," he explained. "We need to find ways of boosting visitor numbers further and this jointly hosted seminar will help the UK industry learn more about exactly what makes Indian visitors tick."
According to the 2013 Anholt GfK Nation Brand Index, Indians said that their top three choices as a tourist in Britian would be to ‘Visit Buckingham Palace' (29%), View London from the Shard or London Eye' (24%), and ‘Take the mountain train up Snowdon' (21%).