Tourism deficit widens as UK residents spend more on trips abroad

Tourism deficit widens as UK residents spend more on trips abroad

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UK residents made 4% more trips abroad last year and spent £1 billion or 3% more than in 2013.

The number of people travelling abroad totalled 60.1 million with the length of visit up by 1.9% to 616.5 million, according to new data released by the Office of National Statistics.

The number of visits abroad for holidays grew by 3.7% as did visits abroad to friends or family and for business - up 7.8% and 0.1% respectively.

Spending on holidays and visits to friends and family increased by 4.5% and 6.5% respectively, but expenditure on business visits abroad fell 3.8%.

Visits to North America, Europe and other countries grew in 2014, up 8.5%, 3.8% and 3.2% respectively. Spending in these regions also increased by 9.9%, 1.3% and 3.8% respectively.

Spain continued to be the top destination for UK residents visiting abroad, accounting for 12.2 million visits, a 5.4% increase from the previous year, and accounting for 20.4% of the total number of visits abroad.

Meanwhile, visits to the UK rose for the fourth consecutive year with a rise of 5.2% to a record 34.4 million - the highest number of visits since the IPS began in 1961.

Earnings from visits to the UK reached a record level of spending in the UK of £21.8 billion, up by 2.8% over 2013.

The number of nights spent in the UK rose to 264.6 million, an increase of 7.8% year-on-year.

Visits from North America and Europe increased in 2014 by 3.3% and 6.6% respectively. Spending from North America and Europe also grew by 11.6% and 4.2%.

But arrivals and spending by visitors from other countries showed a decline of 0.2% and 2.9% respectively.

Holidays remain the main reason for visits to the UK, accounting for 13.6 million visits, a rise of 7.2% compared with 2013. Business visits and visits to friends and family both showed a growth of 4.8%.

A record 17.4 million overnight visits to London were made by overseas residents in 2014, an increase of 3.5%, and £11.8 billion was spent on these visits.

Overnight visits to the rest of England grew by 5.1% to 14.2 million. Visits to Scotland and Wales also continued to rise by 11.5% and 7.3%.

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