New figures out today show that 2015 set a new record for inbound tourism to the UK with 35.8 million visits, four per cent up on 2014 and the sixth consecutive year of growth.
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.
Visitors spent £21.8 billion in the UK last year in line with 2014’s record breaking figure.
When considering spending for December only last year, a new record was set with overseas visitors spending £1.7 billion, up one per cent on December 2014.
Tourism minister David Evennett said: “Tourism is one of the UK’s fastest growing industries, and attracting more international visitors to our shores is not only important for the sector but for the nation’s whole economy.
“These record figures show how our incredible mixture of stunning countryside, world-class sport, historic buildings and thriving cities continue to be a major draw for tourists.”
Visits from North America, which include Canada and the USA, the latter the UK’s most valuable tourism source market, showed growth of eight per cent last year compared to 2014, with 3.9 million visits.
It was a record year for visits from the high volume EU15 markets, with a two per cent increase on 2014 to 19.9 million visits.
A record was also set for visits from the ‘Rest of the World’ with 5.6 million, a six per cent increase on 2014.
Regarding the types of journeys made, record results were seen in the number of holiday visits to the UK with 13.7 million visits, one per cent up on
2014, as well as those visiting friends and relatives, 10.5 million, up seven per cent on 2014.
Visits for business increased six per cent on 2014 with 8.7 million visits and people coming for other reasons, defined by the International Passenger Survey as miscellaneous journey purposes, was up five per cent on 2014 with 2.9 million visits.
Latest forecasts from VisitBritain show that the growth in visitor numbers is set to continue this year with 36.7 million visits expected in 2016.