January to July 2017 sees record-breaking 23.1m overseas visits to UK

An extra £872 million in visitor spending was generated across the UK in the last year as a result of work by national tourism agency VisitBritain/VisitEngland, according to 2016-17 annual review figures.

This means for every pound invested in the organisation, £20 of additional visitor spend was generated for the economy. From January to July this year there were a record 23.1 million overseas visits to the UK, up 8% on the same period last year with visitors spending £13.3 billion, up 9%. And VisitBritain is forecasting that overseas visits to the UK will increase 6% to 39.7 million in 2017 with spending up 14% to £25.7 billion by the end of this calendar year.

Brits are also taking more holidays at home. From January to June this year, domestic overnight holidays in England rose 7% to a record 20.4 million with visitors spending £4.6 billion, up 17% and also a record.

UK Minister for Tourism John Glen said: “Tourism contributes billions to the UK economy, supports millions of jobs and is the lifeblood for many communities across the country. We have seen record-breaking inbound visits and spend this summer, which is testament to our world-class attractions and the innovation of our tourism industry.

“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 CBE said: “Tourism is an economic powerhouse, worth £127 billion 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.

“Tourism is a fiercely competitive global industry and you cannot just build a strong, resilient industry on a weaker currency. We must continue to invest in developing world-class tourism products, getting Britain on the wish-list of international and domestic travellers. And we must make it easy for visitors to make that trip.”

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