The British nation took more overseas trips in the third quarter of 2013 compared to the same period the previous year.
New Office of National Statistics (ONS) data from the International Passenger Survey shows UK residents made 20.6 million visits abroad in Q3 2013, up 6.9% year-on-year.
Trips to Europe were up 6.2%, while long-haul travel went up 8.3% for the USA and 11.8% for other countries.
Of these visits, 14.6 million were for holidays, up 6.8%, while there was a drop in business visits by 4.8%.
During the quarter Brits spent GBP12.7 billion on holidays, up 8.3%. Around 241.2 million room nights were taken overseas.
“As confidence returns to the UK, holidaymakers are finding more reasons for discretionary spend with the short break holiday a favoured choice. Operators in the sector are also optimistic for the future, as increasing spend is being seen on ski holidays,” commented Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays.
Inbound traffic to UK rises
International visits to the UK also saw a boost in 2013, with an estimated 9.9 million trips made in Q3.
This represented a rise of 12.1% with overnight visits up across England, Scotland and Wales, by 12.4%, 18.7% and 15.2% respectively.
European visitors have been spending more time in the UK with room nights from the region up 10.6%, compared to a 5.5% increase for North American tourists and an 8.5% growth from other countries.
Earnings from tourism and business trips grew approximately 11.4% to GBP7.2 billion in Q3.
VisitBritain now hopes the final quarter figure for spend will be GBP700 million or higher to reach a yearly sum of GBP20bn, which would be reach for the first time in a calendar year.
“For 2013 to be the best year in inbound history, we’d need to see a record December for visits too, but it’s a certainty we’ll see record levels for spend. The first 11 months of 2013 have already seen the highest ever international spend in Britain, which proves that our GREAT campaign is turning spectators into visitors,” said Sandie Dawe, chief executive of VisitBritain.