A record £19 billion was spent by overseas travellers to the UK during the Olympic and Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year of 2012.
This was 4% up on 2011 as inbound visitors increased by 1% to more than 31 million.
A total of 12 million holiday visits to the UK were taken last year while there was also growth in business travel and those taking trips to visits friends and relations.
There was a record number of visits from ‘rest of the world’ countries at 4.9 million and 2.2 million visits from non-EU markets, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics
A strong recovery from the high spending and North American markets was recorded at 3.7 million and from the remaining 12 European countries at 2.8 million, which was also the strongest since 2008.
December saw a 12% increase in inbound visits and a 15% rise in spend over the same month in 2011.
VisitBritain strategy and communications director Patricia Yates said: “Inbound tourism has shown it can continue to deliver growth to the UK economy and Britain has managed to avoid the threatened displacement in the year of the Games.
“Our tourism strategy was clearly to use the showcasing of the Games and turn the millions who watched coverage of Britain into visitors in the months and years ahead.
“We have made an excellent start and will continue our work promoting Britain as a great place to visit to deliver further revenue and jobs in the UK through 2013.”
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