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Visitor spending increases in UK despite drop in numbers

Visitor spending increases in UK despite drop in numbers

International figures for April 2013 have seen an impressive 13 per cent rise in visitor spend in the UK, despite a one per cent drop in visitor numbers.

It comes as Britain attempts to maintain momentum from the image boost of hosting the 2012 Games.

The results mean that over the 12 months to April 2013 there has been record spend (in nominal terms) of £19.19 billion.

The 2.88 million visits for the month is a slight decrease from a strong 2012, although across the first four months of 2013 there have been one per cent more visits than in the same period in 2012.

Of the overseas visitors who came here in April, there were record levels from rest of world markets - which include the likes of big spending Australia, Brazil, China and the UAE.

This means that there was an encouraging nine per cent change in April, and leaves these highly sought after markets nine per cent higher in 2013 so far.

Visits from Europe across the first four months of 2013 are higher, with one per cent growth in visits from the major EU15 markets.

Visits from non EU European markets have slowed slightly but remain at a record level over the 12 months to April 2013.

North American visits saw a seven per cent drop in April, leading to a four per cent drop for the year to date.

Looking at visitor profiles, Business visits in April show continued growth, up eight per cent from 2012.

In the first four months of 2013 Business and VFR visits have been higher than the same period in 2012, both showing the strongest start to a year since 2008.

Holiday visits in the first few months of the year are slightly below (down three per cent) the 2012 record.

Sandie Dawe, VisitBritain chief executive, said: “While these latest figures indicate that we’re on track with our 2013 forecast, it’s clear that we’re fighting hard to increase visitor numbers against better resourced competition who recognise that inbound tourism can deliver economic growth and jobs in a tough climate.

“The USA, still Britain’s most valuable source of overseas visitors, continues to struggle. We simply haven’t got the resources currently to arrest that.

“Like others in the public sector, we’re making a strong case for additional funding through the Spending Review.

“Our GREAT campaign is having a positive impact, but we must not be complacent.

“We must continue to make further inroads in key inbound markets if we are to increase visitor numbers to 40 million a year by 2020.

“The world travel picture remains highly competitive and our GREAT activity is building good momentum on what it is that makes Britain such a wonderful destination, especially at a time when other countries are dramatically raising their game and their funding.”