Increase in foreign travel last year highest since 1998

Increase in foreign travel last year highest since 1998

Foreign travel jumped by 9.4% last year, the largest rise since 1998, despite terrorist attacks in Europe and north Africa.

The number of Britons taking overseas holidays or business trips rose to 65.7 million over 2014, according to the Office for National Statistics

Abta said the figures showed the "resilience" of UK travellers in the face of the deaths of 130 people in Paris in November, and the killing of 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia in June.

"The 9.4% growth recorded in overseas holidays during the year is the largest annual rise in nearly 20 years, and spending on holidays exceeded pre-crisis levels for the first time since the recession," a spokesman said.

Spain was the most popular country for UK residents to visit, attracting 13 million trips during the year and accounting for almost a fifth of all foreign travel by Britons.

At the same time the number of trips by foreign visitors to the UK rose by 5.1%, to a record high of 36.1 million.

But while foreigners spent £22.1 billion on visits to the UK, Britons spent £39 billion abroad.

The French were the biggest visitors to the UK, with 4 million trips.

They were followed by Germans and Americans, with 3 million visits each. However American visitors spend more, so are more important to the economy.

Outside London, the cities with the highest number of visitors were Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham, each of which had more than one million foreign visits.


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