On the back of a report this week showing the Rugby World Cup 2015 was the most economically-successful ever, figures out from VisitBritain show double-digit growth in the number of visits from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa from October to December last year.
Visits from New Zealand to the UK increased by 52 per cent to more than 40,000 with the Kiwis spending more than £63 million during this period, more than twice as much as in 2014.
Visits and spend from Australia meanwhile both increased about 20 per cent to 219,000 and £254 million respectively compared to the same period in 2014.
And visits from South Africa were up 30 per cent to 58,000 with spend up six per cent to £77 million.
VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said: “Britain shone in the global spotlight as the host of the 2015 Rugby World Cup and it’s great to see the huge growth in visits and spend from some of the world’s top rugby-watching nations including Australia, our fourth most valuable market.
“Almost half a million international visitors attended matches and events across 11 host cities throughout the seven week tournament which gave these areas fantastic global exposure, introducing new places to many overseas visitors.”
VisitBritain hosted press and broadcast trips from international media, as well as supporting the 2,000 accredited media covering the tournament.
‘The Economic Impact of Rugby World Cup 2015’ report published this week by Ernst and Young showed that last year’s Rugby World Cup generated nearly £2.3 billion in economic output.
The 406,000 international visitors for RWC 2015 each stayed for 14 days in the UK, spending £958 million, at an average of £2,400 per person.
This breaks down to £270 million on accommodation, £233 million on leisure activities, £188 million on food and drink, £156 million on travel and £111 million on retail.
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.