The UK attracted 2.77 million international travellers in October – the best level in three years and just below a record 2.82 million arrivals in October 2007, prior to the global economic downturn.
The 2% rise was reflected by a similar increase in visitor spending to a record of £1.7 billion.
The October figure means inbound tourism has attracted record earnings of £14.9 billion in the first ten months of 2011, 4% up on the same period last year, with visitor numbers up by 3%.
The increases have been helped by strong figures from growth markets such as Brazil, up by 47%, China, up 28% and Russia, up 19%.
VisitBritain strategy and communications director Patricia Yates said: “We have had a particularly good year so far in both visitors and spend, especially from those coming from the emerging tourism markets like Brazil, China and Russia, where we need to compete strongly to ensure Britain maintains its position near the top of the world rankings.
“In the new year our 'GREAT Britain - You're Invited' campaign will look to build on the positive gains made in the VFR market, enticing potential visitors with the warm welcome of their friends and family here in the UK and putting Britain on the destinations wish-list for millions across the globe.”
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