Figures released today show that July was the strongest month for inbound tourism to the UK since official records began in 1961.
There were a record four million overseas visits to the UK in July, the first month to ever break through the four million mark, and up six per cent on the same month last year.
Overseas visitors spent £2.8 billion in the UK, the best month for spend on record.
Strong growth in visits from North America continued in July with a record 650,000 visits, up nine per cent on last year.
Tourism minister John Glen said: “Tourism is a major economic force that creates jobs and drives growth for the whole of the country.
“These record figures show the continued strength of this important sector and the UK’s global position as a must-visit destination.”
VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said that the best-ever monthly figures underpinned a strong first half of the year for inbound tourism.
“This sustained growth demonstrates Britain’s continued ability to compete internationally for visitors and shows that tourism, one of our most valuable export industries, is an increasingly important driver of economic growth across our nations and regions,” she added.
Today’s Office for National Statistics figures have brought the total number of overseas visits to the UK from January to July this year to 23.1 million, up eight per cent on the same period last year and a record year–to-date.
Spending by visitors during this period hit a record £13.3 billion, up nine per cent on the same period last year.
There were 2.9 million overseas visits from North America from January to July, up 21 per cent on the same period last year.
There were 15.1 million overseas visits from EU countries, the UK’s largest visitor-generating region, four per cent up on last year.
Tourism is worth £127 billion annually to the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across its nations and regions.