More than 24 million trips abroad were made by British travellers last summer, official figures show.

The total of 24.2 million was 1% ahead of the same peak three month period in 2017 with spending up by 3%, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Spending on visits overseas in the July to September period totalled £16.4 billion over the same quarter in 2017.

The International Passenger Survey shows that 7.2 million trips were taken in July, up 2% and 9.3 million in August, up 2%. September’s figure of 7.7 million was down 3% year-on-year.

Spending increased in each month with a 6% rise in July to £4.8 billion, 2% in August to £6.4 billion and 1% in September to £5.2 billion.

Visits to European countries remained static at 20.1 million while those travelling to North America fell by 6% to 1.3 million. Trips to other countries outside Europe and North America rose by 7% to 2.8 million.

Those taking holidays grew by 1% over summer 2017, with business travel up 6% and visits to friends and relatives rising 1%.

However, inbound tourist numbers to the UK and spending fell during summer quarter.

The number of foreign visitors declined by 3% to 10.8 million with spending 15% down to £7.1 billion on the same July to September period in 2017. Holiday
visits to the UK increased by 1% to 4.8 million in the period.

There was a 3% drop in European visitors, who made seven million trips in the third quarter. Although the number of visitors from North America rose 9%, their contribution to the total was far smaller at 1.6 million.

The ONS pointed out that both visitor numbers and spending by the visitors were record highs in the corresponding three months of 2017 due to the weak pound.