New figures out today show that a new February record has been set for the number of international visits to the UK, up eight per cent on the same month last year, with spend also up six per cent.
The Office for National Statistics figures show that 2.25 million visits were made in February 2016 with visitors spending £1.08 billion.
Strong growth was seen in business visits, 12 per cent up on the same month last year with 750,000 visits and securing an all-time February high.
Today’s figures come on the back of a record-breaking January for inbound visits.
VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said: “These back-to-back record-breaking figures leave no doubt that 2016 is off to a cracking start for inbound tourism as we continue, through our international marketing campaigns, to promote Britain as the ‘Home of Amazing Moments,’ inspiring even more visitors to come and explore all our nations and regions.”
And Britain as a tourist destination could also expect another boost from its time in the global media spotlight this week following Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday yesterday, the arrival of US President Barack Obama, and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death on Saturday April 23rd.
Tourism minister David Evennett said: “This record-breaking start to the year shows that our fantastic array of attractions remain hugely popular with visitors from all over the world.
“There is so much to see and do across the whole of the UK and we are absolutely committed to encouraging tourists to see all the hidden gems we have to offer.”
VisitBritain is running a social media campaign from its twitter handle @VisitBritain to encourage President Obama to tweet during his visit using #OMGB (Oh My Great Britain) - the hashtag at the heart of the organisation’s marketing campaign for 2016 to promote Britain as the ‘Home of Amazing Moments’.
President Obama has the highest number of Twitter followers and Facebook fans of any world leader with more than 73 million followers and 48 million fans respectively.
Last year set a record for inbound tourism to Britain with 35.8 million visits, four per cent up on 2014.
Comparing growth over the last five years shows that there were six million more visits in 2015 than 2010, an increase of 20 per cent.
Tourism is Britain’s seventh largest export industry and third largest service sector.
The industry is also a major job creator, for example every 22 additional Chinese visitors that come to Britain create an additional job in the sector.
Inbound tourism is worth more than £26 billion to the UK economy.