Tourism to the UK rose by 6% in the first two months of the year to 5.2 million visits, official figures show.
Overseas visitors spent a record £2.7 billion in January and February, up 11% on the same time last year.
Growth was led from our long-haul markets, including North America up 2% to 400,000 arrivals, as well as from other parts of the world, up 15% to 790,000 visits.
Visits from other EU countries grew by 5% to 3.6 million visits.
Overall holiday visits in January and February went up by 15% to 1.6 million visits.
VisitBritain, which producing the new figures, predicts that growth is set to continue in 2017 with 38.8 million visits and with spending reaching £23.9 billion against 37.3 million visits and spending of £22.2 billion last year.
Latest data shows that flight bookings to the UK for April to September 2017 are up 21% compared to the same period last year.
Tourism minister Tracey Crouch said: “This record-breaking start to the year once more underlines the strength of our tourism industry.
“Our fantastic welcome and world-class attractions are continuing to attract huge numbers of visitors from across the globe, which is great news for the whole country.”
VisitBritain director Patricia Yates added: ”These figures show that 2017 is off to a cracking start for inbound tourism, one of our most valuable export industries.
“Britain is offering great value for overseas visitors and we can see the success of our promotions in international markets.
“We must continue to build on our message of welcome and value in our high spending markets such as China, the US and the valuable European market.”
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