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The government and VisitBritain will hail a record year for inbound travel and tourism to the UK today as ministers ramp up promotion of the sector in the dying days of the coalition.
Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures due out this morning will confirm Britain welcomed record numbers of overseas visitors in 2014, with the total close to 35 million.
ONS stats for the 12 months to November showed a 6% rise in inbound numbers over the previous 12 months to 34.8 million visitors, two million up on the full-year figure for 2013 which was itself a record.
Tourist numbers rose 7% year on year to November, with business visitors up 6%.
Visitors from Europe dominated, up 7%, with visitors from North America – who tend to stay longer and spend more – up 3%.
Sports and tourism minister Helen Grant pledged to make the industry the focus of her final weeks in office last month, telling Travel Weekly: “This government gets tourism.”
She said: “The success of our tourism strategy in bringing record visitor numbers to Britain is a real source of pride. But we must keep up the momentum.”
Government ministers have made the value of tourism and the importance of the jobs, skills and training it can provide a key part of their pre-election message.
Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan was due to speak at the UKinbound Annual Convention in Leicester this afternoon.
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