Domestic tourism bosses hailed a year of record growth at the launch of VisitBritain’s 2015-16 annual review on Tuesday morning.
Overseas visitors spent an extra £800 million across Britain in the last year as a result of the national tourism board’s efforts, the report shows. This means that every £1 invested in VisitBritain’s activities resulted in an international visitor spending £23 in Britain.
The announcement follows record-breaking inbound figures in July, when the number of international visitors to the UK rose 2% to 3.8 million compared to the same month last year, with spend up 4% to £2.5 billion.
For the first time, visitors from the US spent £3 billion in Britain in 2015, and visits from China increased by 46%, with spend up 18%.
This moved China into Britain’s top 10 most valuable markets, while flight booking data from ForwardKeys showed that bookings from China to the UK were up 24% for October to December.
Domestic visitors also spent more in England last year than ever before, with £19.6 billion spent by Brits on overnight trips, up 8% on 2014.
VisitEngland’s 2015 ‘Holidays at Home are GREAT’ initiative generated an additional spend of £97 million among domestic visitors to England.
Speaking at the launch event, British Tourist Authority chairman Christopher Rodrigues said that VisitBritain/VisitEngland was in “pole position” to build on this growth and fulfil its government remit of growing the value of inbound tourism to Britain, and developing England’s tourism product through the Discover England Fund.
He said: “As our fourth biggest service export, and one of our fastest growing sectors, tourism’s importance as a key economic driver and job creator is clear.
“While the talk is of trade deals with new markets, tourism is already leading the way, competing strongly in our most valuable source markets such as the US and in markets that are crucial for our future including China.
“Once again we (VisitBritain/VisitEngland) have shown our ability to build great partnerships, leveraging private sector money to amplify our message and convert the aspiration to travel into bookings.”
Also speaking at the event, tourism minister Tracey Crouch said: “Together with VisitBritain/VisitEngland, our tourism strategy is working and it is fantastic news that so many overseas and domestic visitors are exploring the stunning countryside, historic buildings and vibrant culture that our country has to offer.”
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