Tourist spend predicted to increase by £1b in 2015
Great Britain can expect a £1b boost in spend from overseas tourists in 2015, according to new forecast figures from national tourism body VisitBritain.
As a result, inbound tourism spend is expected to increase by 4.5%, with visitors from overseas expected to spend £22.2b - an increase of almost £1b on 2014, with spend forecast to be £21.3b for this year. In 2010 total spend from overseas visitors was £16.8b from 29.8 million trips.
Culture secretary Sajid Javid, who announced the projections yesterday, said the tourism sector is driving economic growth for Britain.
"The Olympic Games and Diamond Jubilee gave us a great platform to showcase the best of Britain, but we didn't stop there and have kept up the momentum in the past two years," he said.
"Britain has so much to offer tourists, with our stunning countryside, great heritage and world-class sport and culture. Working closely with the tourism industry we will continue to champion the UK abroad as part of our long-term economic plan."
The UK's heritage is seen as our greatest asset to attract travellers from all over the world, with Buckingham Palace, Scottish and Welsh castles, Stonehenge and a Premier League football match the top-five must-sees for a person visiting from China.
Norwegian, French, German and American visitors also cite British heritage as the main reason to explore the country.
Other attractions outside of London include Chester Zoo, the National Railway Museum in York, Portsmouth's Historic Dockyards and the Tate Museum in St Ives.
Growth from Chinese tourists has been particularly strong in the past four years. They spent £492m in 2013, up from £184m in 2010. Over that period the number of visits from Chinese people rose by 79.1% to 196,000.
The government is also encouraging more visitors from Mexico to visit Britain in 2015, which is also the 'Year of Mexico', where both countries look to showcase their culture, arts and creative industries. The number of visits from Mexicans has climbed from 67,000 in 2010 to 108,000 in 2013 and there is to be a further push in the coming months.
The US remains the nation that spends the most on trips to the UK. Last year, visitors from the US splashed out £2.5b in 2013, up 19.4% on 2010 (£2.1b) as their love affair with Britain continues, helped by the success of hit dramas like Downton Abbey and Sherlock Stateside.
Spend by visitors from France and Germany has also grown strongly in the four years to 2013 - up 18.2% and 18% to £1.35b and £1.4b respectively.
The French visit Britain the most, with 3.9 million visits in 2013, up 8.6% on 2010, and Germany is second, with 3.1 million visits in 2013, up 5.3% compared to 2010.
Sally Balcombe, chief executive of VisitBritain, added: "Tourism will continue to be one of the country's major export earners, with VisitBritain playing a critical role in its success. One of our priorities for 2015 will be to inspire international visits to the nations and regions and showcase Britain's magnificent countryside.
"Our GREAT campaign continues to produce results and generated at least £1.8b from inbound visitors in its first three years, creating economic value and jobs across Britain's tourism businesses."
The number of visits from people from overseas is expected to increase, with 35.1 million trips expected in 2015, up 2.5% on 2014.
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