UK visitor numbers fall but spend increases

Newly released figures for April this year has shown that spending by visitors to the UK increased by 13 percent for the month, despite an actual fall in visitor numbers.

The 2.88 million foreign visitors that arrived during the month of April was 1 percent down on the same period last year, but arrivals from developing markets including Brazil and China were at record levels.

With the final month’s figures in place it can be revealed that visitors to Britain spent GBP19.19 billion during the year to April, which was a record.

For the first four months of 2013, visitors from the 15 major European countries have registered a 1 percent increase in numbers. However, visitors from North America registered a 7 percent drop for April, and a drop of 4 percent for the first months of 2013.

Sandie Dawe, the chief executive of VisitBritain, the body responsible for generating tourism to the UK, commented, ‘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.’