UK regions attract record 12.2m inbound visits

UK regions attract record 12.2m inbound visits

A record 12.2 million visits were made by foreign tourists to UK regions outside London in the first nine months of last year.

This represented a 4% increase compared to the same period in 2015, with spending up by 2% to £5.9 billion, according to latest VisitBritain figures.

It was also a record-breaking summer for inbound visits to the English regions with 4.9 million visits from July to September, up 3% on the year before.

Spending by overseas visitors during the summer reached a record £2.9 billion, up 11% on 2015.

Visitors from Germany and France took most trips to regions in England while travellers from the US to the regions were up 5% to 903,000 and Canada up 15% to 280,000.

Travellers from the United Arab Emirates for the first nine months of 2016 were up 3% to 282,000 and spend up 14% to £436 million, both records.

Overall arrivals to the to the UK were up 2% year-on-year in the Janauary to September period to a record-breaking 28.1 million.

Meanwhile, Wales saw inbound visits increase 12% from January to September to 856,000 with spending hitting a record high for the period, up 9% to £367 million.

Overseas visitors spent £1.6 billion in Scotland during the first nine months of last year, up 12% on 2015 and a record for the period. Visits grew 4% to 2.2 million, the strongest year to date since 2007.

Tourism minister Tracey Crouch said: “This country has so much to offer tourists from both home and abroad and we want to make it even easier for visitors to experience our world-class sights and attractions.

“Our Tourism Action Plan and £40 million Discover England Fund is helping to grow tourism to ensure that the benefits of this important industry are felt right across the country.”

VisitBritain chief executive Sally Balcombe added: “Inbound tourism is one of our largest export industries and it is very encouraging to see that growth is being spread right across our nations and regions, demonstrating the industry’s increasing importance as a driver of economic growth and jobs.

“We are seizing the opportunity to build on this growth, promoting a message of value and welcome through our global #OMGB ‘Home of Amazing Moments’ marketing campaigns and showcasing the diversity of incredible experiences visitors can only have here.

“And we’re working with commercial partners to convert the inspiration to visit into bookings.”

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