Despite persistent wintry weather throughout the month, the UK registered a substantial increase in its tourism figures for the month of February.
Figures from the International Passenger Survey have revealed that the UK benefited from a 14 percent increase in visitor numbers compared with February last year, and the increased visitor volume also contributed to a 9 percent increase in visitor spend, taking the total to over £1 billion for the first time ever in February. The figures were even more encouraging as February 2012 was a day longer than February this year, due to it having a leap day.
Breaking the figures down further, the three main motivations for travellers to visit the UK, which are holiday, business and visiting friends or relatives, saw growth of 10 percent, 15 percent and 19 percent respectively. Visits from overseas nationals topped 1.97 million for the month, with visitors from EU countries up by 22 percent and those from non-EU European countries up by 12 percent. Visits from the rest of the world increased by 6 percent.
VisitBritain, the UK agency responsible for promoting tourism, has welcomed the positive figures, and its chief executive, Sandie Dawe, said, ‘These are an encouraging set of figures and show sustained growth in the number of inbound visitors and more importantly in the amount they are spending in Britain. They underline that inbound tourism is an industry in which Britain competes globally and has the potential to grow faster than other sectors of the economy.
‘It is already the case that tourism was responsible for a third of all jobs created in the past couple of years and continued growth will be a driver to creating more jobs across Britain.
‘We are continuing to roll out our promotion of Britain as a great place to visit around the world and these results are a consequence of the hard work that has already been done by VisitBritain in our key markets.’