The number of overseas visits to Britain in February stayed broadly flat when compared with last year.
That's the finding from new figures collected by the Office of National Statistics. Arrivals actually saw a 3% increase on the same month a year ago, with spend up 1%, but that included the extra leap-year day.
Interpreting the data, VisitBritain said the figures suggested that inbound tourism levels were in fact at a similar level to a year ago, although coupled with January arrivals, the year-to-date picture for 2012 was that both volume and value of inbound tourism was up by 7%.
Meanwhile, VisitBritain said that its forecast for 2012 remained on track - with the overall the volume and value of inbound tourism predicted to be close to that achieved in 2011.
Holiday visits remained at record levels, with more than 12 million such trips over the year to February 2012, with some of the strongest growth over the past year from long-haul source markets such as Australia and Brazil.
Mark Di-Toro, spokesman for VisitBritain, said: "February saw 1.76 million visits from overseas, while spending amounted to around £1b. These results show modest increases in what is traditionally a quiet month for international tourism and means we are on course to reach this year's forecast of 30.7 million inbound arrivals.
"This provides us with a stable platform to build on the vast profile our country will receive in 2012, with hallmark events such as the Olympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee helping us to enhance our image to billions of potential visitors around the world, and allowing us to capitalise on these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities to drive more tourism to Britain than ever before."
By Neil Gerrard
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