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As the summer of 2017 drew to a close the anecdotal feeling throughout much of the industry was that it had been a busy one, and we’re delighted to say that the latest Visit Britain tourism figures make very pleasant reading for those within the UK’s thriving tourism sector.
The number of tourists visiting the UK from abroad during July 2017 stood at a whopping 4.02 million. The first time the four million mark had been topped in a single month, and the largest figure since records began in 1961!
Industry experts have suggested that the weaker pound against the euro and dollar during the past twelve months has contributed to an increase in international visitors seeking to take advantage of great deals and currency leverage, which when combined with more brits staying within the UK for their summer holidays, has led to an overall swell in visitor numbers and nights during the peak months.
Let’s take a more detailed look at some of the latest figures…
Record-breaking Visit Britain tourism figures
The latest figures (which are for July 2017) show that the first half of the summer (May through to July) saw an increase of 4% in overall visitor numbers, making it the busiest opening to a UK summer season on record, with 11.1 million overseas visits made to Blighty during the period.
Spending is up
There is even more good news as data shows that tourists have also been spending more than ever before. During July 2017 spending associated with tourism rose by 3% compared to the same month last year, reaching a whopping £2.8 billion. With record-setting results in six of the first seven months of the year, inbound visitors spent a record £13.3 billion in the first seven months of 2017, 9% more than during the first part of 2016.
Director at VisitBritain, Patricia Yates, said “Very often people budget in their own currency. They’re getting more pounds for their money, and we can see their spend going up.”
Where are the visitors coming from?
The two core long haul regions are the US and China. Both have seen significant increases when it comes to making trips to the UK. They’re up 19% and 29% respectively year on year.
“We’ve seen the American market coming back,” Yates said. “They are high spenders so we like them. Even smaller hotels in Wales are saying they are seeing American visitors. Not only do they go to London, they travel around and explore the regions. They are great visitors to have.”
The UK is also proving a popular choice for EU holidaymakers. 8.3 million visits recorded during the first quarter of 2017, which is an increase of 7%.
What does all of this mean?
The increase in visitor figures will come as a welcome relief for the industry in light of previous fears that recent terror attacks on Manchester and the capital could lead to international travelers staying away, as had been seen with visitor numbers to Paris and other areas of France after similar events.
Patricia added; “This sustained growth demonstrates Britain’s continued ability to compete internationally for visitors and shows that tourism, one of our most valuable export industries, is an increasingly important driver of economic growth across our nations and regions,”.
It will be interesting to see the figures for August and see if the records continue to be broken.
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