Inbound arrivals up in April as spending growth returns

Inbound arrivals up in April as spending growth returns

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The UK received 3.14 million overseas visitors in April, 6% more than in the same month last year.

Arrivals hit a new record of more than 10 million for the first four months of the year.

After three months of decline in spend, growth of 1% was achieved in April, with a total of £1.5 billion spent across the UK, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey.

Holiday visits - VisitBritain’s top priority and the focus for most of its international marketing spend - hit a new record after a 6% jump compared to the previous year.

Business travel arrivals were up by 18%, with visits to friends and relatives rising by 4%.

The main 15 European Union countries account for more than half of all annual visits, making them the UK’s largest world region for visits.

Visits from the 15 countries exceeded two million during any one month for the first time in April. Those from other EU countries were up by 12% to 310,000.

But numbers travelling from the traditionally high-spending North America market slumped by 15% year-on-year to 250,000. Arrivals from the rest of Europe were also down by 8% to 200,000, while those travelling to the UK from the rest of the world rose by 2% to 340,000.

VisitBritain strategy and communications director, Patricia Yates, said: “In a highly competitive tourism environment, it’s very promising to see a considerable return to growth as we approach the peak summer months.

“We expect 2015 and 2016 to be more challenging for inbound tourism as the euro weakens, making it even more important to get our value message across to potential European visitors.

“We also need to act to safeguard our long-haul markets such as the US and China who see European pricing as particularly attractive this summer.”

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