The contribution of inbound tourism to the UK economy has continued to grow in 2012, with latest figures showing a record £19 billion in spend, a four per cent rise on 2011.
Figures from the ONS also confirmed that visits were up on 2011 with over 31 million international tourists enjoying a trip across Britain, representing a one per cent rise on 2011 and the best year since 2008.
The biggest year in inbound history was anchored by 12 million holiday visits and good growth of business and VFR.
Last year witnessed a record number of visits from our ‘rest of the world’ markets at 4.9 million and a record 2.2 million visits from non EU markets.
Britain experienced strong recovery from the high spending and vital North American (3.7m) and A12 European markets (2.8m), also the strongest since 2008.
December 2012 itself was a strong month for inbound tourism with a 12 per cent increase on visits over the previous December and a 15 per cent increase in spend.
Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communications at VisitBritain said: “Inbound tourism has shown it can continue to deliver growth to the UK economy and Britain has managed to avoid the threatened displacement in the year of the Games.
“Our tourism strategy was clearly to use the showcasing of the Games and turn the millions who watched coverage of Britain into visitors in the months and years ahead.
“We have made an excellent start and will continue our work promoting Britain as a great place to visit to deliver further revenue and jobs in the UK through 2013.”