More tourists visiting UK but spending less

New figures from VisitBritain show that 2015 set a new record for inbound tourism to the UK with 35.8 million visits, four per cent up on 2014 and the sixth consecutive year of growth. Comparing growth over the last five years shows that there were six million more visits in 2015 than 2010, an increase of 20%. However, visitors to the UK are spending less. Despite the increase in the amount of visitors, spending remained at £21.8 billion last year in line with 2014's record breaking figure. Visits from North America, showed growth of 8% last year compared to 2014, with 3.9m visits. It was also a record year for visits from the high volume EU15 markets, with a 2% increase on 2014 to 19.9m visits and a record was also set for visits from the ‘Rest of the World' with 5.6m, a 6% increase on 2014. Tourism Minister David Evennett said "Tourism is one of the UK's fastest growing industries, and attracting more international visitors to our shores is not only important for the sector but for the nation's whole economy. These record figures show how our incredible mixture of stunning countryside, world-class sport, historic buildings and thriving cities continue to be a major draw for tourists." VisitBritain launched its largest international marketing campaign for 2016 earlier this month which promotes memorable moments visitors can only experience on a trip to Britain. Running across four markets, the GREAT Britain ‘Home of Amazing Moments' campaign shows people the experiences, culture and countryside across Britain's nations and regions to inspire them to want to be part of it, and book a trip to come and discover their own amazing moments. Latest forecasts from VisitBritain show that the growth in visitor numbers is set to continue this year with 36.7million visits expected in 2016. In spite of the strength of Sterling, spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach almost £23bn in 2016. VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said "This growth is really fantastic news for the UK economy and shows we're on track to realise our ambition to grow international visits by more than 20% to 42 million by 2020, which could see an additional £4.5 billion in visitor spend, as well as driving tourism across all our nations and region so its benefits are felt across the whole of Britain."
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