The Olympics and Paralympic Games resulted in a 5% decrease in overseas visitors to the UK during August, according to the latest figures published by VisitBritain.
However, the month saw a 9% increase in visitor spend, with an all-time monthly record £2.38b injected into the UK economy. This means that £12.3b has been spent in the UK by overseas visitors so far this year, up 3% from 2011, which is also a record.
The latest figures, which are taken from the Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey, show that the UK has received 20.9 million overseas visitors so far this year, which is in line with VisitBritain's forecast that the country should expect around 31 million inbound arrivals in 2012, spending around £18b in the process.
Around 590,000 international visitors attended, participated or worked at an Olympic or Paralymic sports event and spent around £76m while in the country. On average, each one of these visitors spent £1,290, almost double what visitors would normally spend.
Sandie Dawe, chief executive at VisitBritain, said: "The first six months of the year saw a record in terms of both the number of holiday arrivals and the amount of spend, and with August's figures we are now at the same level as we were in 2011. Nearly 600,000 people have received the very warmest of British welcomes first hand as part of their games experience, while millions of viewers around the world have seen Britain at its very best.
"To ensure that there is a golden legacy for tourism as a result of hosting London 2012, we have gone out in all of our key markets with the next phase of our GREAT campaign. The extraordinary exposure Britain received during the games has provided us with an ideal platform to remind people around the world why a visit to Britain is a must, and we are working hard to deliver a strong finish to the year."
The GREAT marketing campaign is currently being rolled out by VisitBritain to 21 key inbound markets to help ensure the unprecedented publicity Britain received during the games is converted into real visits. The national tourism agency is also consulting with the industry to deliver a blueprint for tourism that will result in 40 million visitors a year by 2020.
By Janet Harmer
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