EU and Chinese visitors drive record inbound numbers

August was the highest month ever for overseas visitor spending in the UK, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Overseas visitors spent £2.8 billion in August, up 3% year-on-year.

It was also a record August for inbound visits to the UK, with 3.9 million visits, up 5% year-on-year.

There was particularly strong growth from EU countries, the UK’s largest visit-generating region, with 2.4 million visits, up 6%.

The total number of overseas visits to the UK from January to August reached 27.1 million, up 8% on 2016.

Spending by visitors during this period reached a record £16.4 billion, up 10% on last year.

John Glen, tourism minister, said: “These record-breaking figures for August reaffirm the UK’s position as a global go-to destination and show the continued strength of the sector.”

Patricia Yates, VisitBritain director, commented: “Tourism is one of Britain’s most valuable export industries and it is encouraging that this strong growth has continued during the summer.

“With Britain continuing to offer good value and with great deals in market, we are confident of a strong festive season and beyond as we showcase why our nations and regions should top people’s list as the must-go-now destination.”

There was also strong growth from China, the world’s most valuable outbound market.

Between January and June 2017 there were 115,000 inbound visits from China to the UK, up 47% on last year.

Visitors from China spent a record £231 million during this period, up 54%.

VisitBritain hosts its annual travel trade event to China next week (November 21-23), connecting more than 60 travel trade and industry suppliers with 75 buyers from 13 destinations across China.

• The 2017 Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index (NBI) saw the UK ranked third overall for tourism globally, equalling its highest rank ever and up two places from last year.

visitbritain.org