China drives growth in UK visitor numbers

China drives growth in UK visitor numbers

Records have been set in 2015 for inbound visits with strong growth from Britain’s major inbound markets including the US and Europe and double digit growth from newer markets China and the United Arab Emirates.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show stellar growth from China with visits up 46 per cent on 2014 to 270,000, and spend up 18 per cent to £586 million, moving China into the UK’s top ten most valuable inbound markets.

Visits from the US, the UK’s most valuable tourism source market, grew ten per cent to 3.3 million in 2015.

Visitors from the US spent £3 billion, a record not only from this market but the first time a single visitor market has broken the £3 billion spending mark.

A record was also set for visits from the high-spending UAE, up 34 per cent in 2015 to 347,000 with spend up 12 per cent to £487 million.

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Tourism minister David Evennett said: “Our tourism industry is world-class and these impressive figures show that our nations and regions are increasingly benefitting from this thriving sector.

“Britain boasts some of the best attractions in the world and drawing more visitors in from key markets like China and the US is fantastic news for the whole country and shows our tourism strategy is working.”

At the same time, France overtook Germany in 2015 to reach second place for visitor spending, up four per cent to £1.5 billion with visits up one per cent to 4.2 million.

Visits from Germany were up one per cent to 3.2 million with £1.4 billion spent.

Records were also set for the number of visits to London up seven per cent on 2014 at 18.6 million, the first time the capital has seen more than 18 million visits, with spending up one per cent to a record £11.9 billion.

Inbound tourism is worth more £26 billion to the UK economy.