Last year was a record year for both inbound tourism and overseas visitor spending in the UK, according to new figures released yesterday.
The latest International Passenger Survey figures show that overseas visitors spent £21.7bn in Britain last year, 3% up on 2013. The number of inbound visits reached a record 34.8 million, up by 2 million, a 6% increase on 2013.
Inbound tourism from North America – the most valuable market for Britain – saw annual growth of 4% in 2014 to 3.7 million, making it the best year for visits since 2008.
VisitBritain, which is currently running its ‘Countryside is GREAT’ campaign in the US, said that the current strengthening of the pound against the US dollar means there is ‘real potential’ for further growth from the US in the future.
Last year was also a record year for visits from the high volume EU15 markets, which saw a 7% annual increase, beating the previous 2007 record by more than a million visits
An 8% annual increase took holiday visits to a record number of 13.7 million during 2014 – over one million up on 2013 and two million higher than in 2010.
Sally Balcombe, chief executive at VisitBritain said: “Inbound tourism is increasing year-after-year, with Britain now achieving its second consecutive annual record, with further growth forecast for 2015.
“The marketplace for global tourism is getting tougher, but the Government’s GREAT campaign and VisitBritain’s successful global marketing activity has meant that tourism is increasingly becoming an essential part of the wider success of our economy.”