Overseas visitors to UK forecast to reach record levels in 2017
The figures, which also outlined that spending during 2017 is expected to increase 14% year on year to £25.7m, were announced in the VisitBritain/VisitEngland annual review.
Brits are also taking more holidays at home, with the number of domestic overnight holidays in England having risen 7% to a record 20.4m from January to June, with spending up 17% to £4.6b.
The review also highlighted that an extra £872m in visitor spending was generated across the UK in the last year as a result of work undertaken by VisitBritain/VisitEngland.
John Glen, minister for tourism, said that the record-breaking figures was "testament to our world-class attractions and the innovation of our tourism industry".
He added: "Internationally we are performing strongly in a hugely competitive market and I will continue to work closely with the sector to maintain growth, get the best possible deal as we exit the EU and retain the UK's position as the must-visit destination."
British Tourist Authority chairman Steve Ridgway, who is also leading the tourism industry's bid for a sector deal under the UK Government's Industrial Strategy, said: "Tourism is an economic powerhouse, worth £127b annually to the economy and a job creator right across Britain. Two and a half times bigger than the automotive industry, employing three million, tourism is one of our most successful exports and needs no trade deals to compete globally.
Ridgway explained that with a sector deal, the UK tourism industry had the potential to more than double in value to £268b within a decade and increase employment to 3.8 million.
The tourism sector deal bid, now submitted to the government for negotiation, outlines four priorities:
•A 10-year tourism and hospitality skills campaign to boost recruitment, skills and long-term careers;
•Boosting productivity by extending the tourism season year-round and increasing global market share in the business visits and events sector;
•Improving connections to increase inbound visits from more markets by 2030;
•Creating 'tourism zones' to build quality tourism products that meet visitors needs and expectations and fixing localised transport issues to improve the visitor experience.
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VisitBritain and VisitEngland report record tourism growth >>
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