Tourists to UK forecast to spend record levels in 2016

Tourists to the UK are predicted to spend record levels this year, according to new forecasts from national tourism body VisitBritain.

The forecasts, which follow record-breaking year-to-date inbound tourism numbers and spend in 2015, predict spending by overseas visitors to reach almost £23bn in 2016. That’s a 4.2% increase on spending in 2015 which is expected to top out at £22bn – a 0.7% increase on 2014.

Meanwhile, the number of overseas visitors to the UK is expected to rise next year to 36.7 million visits, up 3.8% on 2015 which is expected to see some 35.4 million visits when data is released.

Sally Balcombe, chief executive of the body, said: “We are competing in a tough international environment and these results highlight how strongly the tourism sector, one of the UK’s fastest growing export industries, has performed and how the government’s tourism strategy, supported by the GREAT campaign, is producing results.”

The forecast puts VisitBritain on track to realise its ambition of growing international visits to Britain by more than 20% over the next five years to 42 million visits by 2020. The body says this would see an additional £4.5bn in visitor spend.

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