VisitBritain has said its GREAT campaign is starting to see results after Office of National Statistics (ONS) data found inbound tourism at a record high.
There were 6% more overseas visitors to the UK compared to 2012, reaching a total of 32.89 million and beating the record of 32.78m set in 2007.
Those travelling to the UK from overseas also spent a record GBP21 billion last year, 13% more than they did in 2012. This is the first time spend has gone past the GBP20bn mark.
Summer and early autumn were the key periods for incoming tourists with the year posting a record level of holiday visits, 7% above figures in 2012.
In addition business visits were up 5% and the VFR market was up 5% on 2012.
“Not only have we managed to surpass the £20bn barrier for the very first time, but we’ve broken records for holidaymakers and visitors from key growth markets such as China and South Korea,” said VisitBritain’s chief executive Sandie Dawe.
“Our international tourists are starting to see and do more across the country, which tells us that our GREAT campaign is not only working, but influencing travel too. Holiday figures are up across the whole of Britain with robust growth for Scotland, Wales, Rest of England and London.”
Many industry bodies have said the numbers could be higher if visa limitations and more flights were put in place.