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UK regions draw ever more tourists

UK regions draw ever more tourists

International tourists are travelling across English regions in record numbers, and they are spending more too.

Official statistics released today show that in the first nine months of 2016 there were a record-breaking 12.2 million visits to English regions outside London, up four per cent compared to the same period in 2015. 

Spend by international visitors across England’s regions also set a record during this period, up two per cent to £5.9 billion.

Wales saw inbound visits increase 12 per cent from January to September last year to 856,000 with spending by overseas visitors hitting a record high for this period, up nine per cent to £367 million.


Overseas visitors spent £1.6 billion in Scotland during the first nine months of last year, up 12 per cent on 2015 and a record for a January to September period.

Visits grew four per cent to 2.2 million, the strongest year to date since 2007.

It was also a record-breaking summer for inbound visits to the English regions with 4.9 million visits from July to September 2016, up three per cent on the year before.

Spend by overseas visitors during the summer quarter three period reached a record £2.9 billion, up 11 per cent on 2015.

Tourism minister Tracey Crouch said: “This country has so much to offer tourists from both home and abroad and we want to make it even easier for visitors to experience our world-class sights and attractions.

“Our Tourism Action Plan and £40 million Discover England Fund is helping to grow tourism to ensure that the benefits of this important industry are felt right across the country.”

The top two markets for visits to the English regions from January to September, outside of London, were Germany and France.

Looking at longer haul markets, visits from the US to the regions were up five per cent to 903,000 and Canada up 15 per cent to 280,000.

When considering inbound visits overall to the UK there were a record-breaking 28.1 million visits from January to September 2016, up two per cent on the previous year.

Strong growth was seen in visits and spend from the US, Britain’s most valuable visitor market, with spend up nine per cent to a record £2.5 billion and visits up three per cent to 2.7 million.

Record spend was also seen from visitors from Germany who spent £1.2 billion, up nine per cent on January to September 2015.

Canadians spent a record £505 million, up 24 per cent with visits up 12 per cent to 643,000.