The figures, announced today (11 October) at the launch of the agency’s 2015-16 annual review, found record tourism growth in Britain last year with 36.1 million inbound visits and spend of £22.1bn.
It comes on the back of a jump in inbound tourism to the UK in July with more visits than ever before, up 2% to 3.8 million compared with the same month in 2015. Spend was also up 4% during the month to £2.5bn.
Last year visitors from the US – Britain’s most valuable source market – spent £3bn in Britain for the first time and visits from China – the world’s largest outbound market – increased by 46%, with spend up 18%.
Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of the British Tourist Authority, said: “Tourism is a shining star in an uncertain world. As our fourth largest service export, and one of our fastest growing sectors, tourism’s importance as a key economic driver and job creator is clear.
“While the talk is of trade deals with new markets, tourism is already leading the way, competing strongly in our most valuable source markets such as the US and in markets that are crucial for our future including China.”
Domestic visitors also spent more in England last year than ever before, with £19.6bn spent by Britons on overnight trips – an 8% increase on 2014.