New figures from the Office for National Statistics have shown that international visits to Britain for the first nine months of 2015 have broken previous records.
A total of 27.1 million visits were made to Britain from January to September this year, a 3% increase compared to the same period in 2014.
Spending by international visitors in September was £2.2 billion, equalling last year’s record spend for the same month. Overall, spending by visitors for the first nine months of 2015 was £16.5 billion.
This growth in international visits supports results produced by the 2015 Anholt-GfK Nations Brand Index (NBI) published earlier in November, which showed that global perceptions of Britain as a welcoming place are improving.
Overall, the UK came third out of 50 nations for its global brand in this year’s NBI, a place it has held for the fifth year running.
The annual index surveys more than 20,000 people from a panel of 20 countries on their perceptions of 50 nations on tourism, culture, people, exports, governance and immigration/investment, and then ranks them for their overall brand.
The US rated Britain second out of 50 nations for its brand, with the highest leaps in perceptions of natural beauty and cultural heritage. The market has shown a return to growth, with increased visitor numbers and spend in the first six months of 2015 compared to the same period in 2014.
VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said: ” Promoting Britain’s countryside, culture and ‘welcome’ around the world have been a focus for VisitBritain so it’s really positive to see the big improvements in these areas.
“The continued improvement across our most valuable visitor markets including the US, France and Germany, as well as growth markets such as China – where we’ve been running our GREAT China Welcome programme and Culture is GREAT campaign – is a great endorsement that our international campaigns and marketing are producing results.”