Figures out today show that the first three months of the year have set a record for inbound visits to the UK.
The Office for National Statistics figures show visits from January to March were up six per cent on the same period last year to 7.36 million, with visitors spending £3.64 billion.
Strong growth was seen in particular from EU countries with 5.27 million visits, up seven per cent on the first three months of 2015 and setting a record first quarter.
VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said: “These best-ever first quarter figures are a tangible demonstration of the growing importance of inbound tourism to the UK economy, as we continue to showcase globally why our nations and regions should top the list as must-see destinations.”
Visits from North America, one of the UK’s most valuable inbound markets, were also up seven per cent compared to the same period last year. In March alone, visits were up 12 per cent.
Tourism minister David Evennett added: “Our tourism industry is booming as our world-class attractions, heritage and culture make Britain the first choice destination for many, with visit numbers at an all-time high.
“Tourism is making a massive contribution to our economy and we want to keep up this momentum, encouraging more people to come and enjoy the very best of Britain for themselves.”
Last year set a record for inbound tourism to Britain on visits and spend with 36.1 million visits, five per cent up on 2014, and spending up one per cent to £22.1 billion.
Comparing growth during the last five years shows that there were six million more visits in 2015 than 2010, an increase of more than 20 per cent.