Travel to the UK has grown for the first few months of the year, according to the latest figures from the International Passenger Survey (IPS).
Arrival figures for April 2012 show a healthy increase in both the volume and value of inbound tourism compared to April 2011, with visits from overseas and the amount spent during these visits rising by 10%.
In total, April saw a record 2.9 million visits from overseas, while spending amounted to £1.4bn.
Meanwhile holiday visits were also up by 5% in April, continuing a recent trend for setting new records. The 1.2 million arrivals in April means there has been 3.3 million holiday visits so far this year.
Looking at the overall figures so far in 2012 - a period that is traditionally the quietest for Britain – there has been a 6% increase in visits and a 5% increase in spend compared to the same period last year.
Visits from vital European high volume and high value markets performed strongly during April with visits from EU15 markets at a record 1.9 million, up 5% on April 2011 and meaning that in the first four months of this year nearly 5.7 million residents of these markets have made a trip to Britain, up 4% on 2011.
Commenting on the April IPS figures, Patricia Yates, Director of Strategy and Communications at VisitBritain said: “The first few months of the year are traditionally a quiet period for visits to the UK, so to see a record month like this with an increase of 10% in both visits and spend is encouraging.
“Our £25 million GREAT image campaign has been running in key inbound markets around the world since February. That aims to entice a greater number of people to choose Britain for their next holiday and with the London 2012 Games on our horizons, we hope that these positive April figures are an early indication that our message is getting through. The only place to be in 2012 is here in the UK and the warmest of welcomes awaits international visitors coming here to join in all the wonderful celebrations that are taking place right across the country.”