Inbound tourism registers significant growth across Britain

Inbound tourism has grown significantly across all of Britain’s regions in 2013, and will continue to grow by over 6% a year for the rest of this decade, VisitBritain has said, citing figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

Strong growth has been registered across all sectors, viz. Holiday visits, Business visits and VFR (Visit to friends and relatives) visits.

A record number of Holiday visits to British regions were registered in 2013 – at 12.726 million, an increase of 6.4%, with spending up 12.0% year on year at GBP8.448bn.

Business visits reached 7.945 million, up 7.0% but still down on the 9 million achieved in 2006. Spending by those visiting for Business reached GBP5.014bn, up 11.4% on 2012.

Meantime, VFR (Visit to friends and relatives) visits increased 4.2% to 9.327 million, which was below the record established in 2008 of 9.727 million. VFR visits generated GBP4.524bn in spending in 2013, up 14.6% on the year before.

Christopher Rodrigues, Chairman of VisitBritainm said: ‘We are delighted with these final results for the key post-Olympic year. Every single nation across Britain has seen an uplift in visitor numbers and, even more importantly, there have been substantial increases in spending for one of Britain’s largest export industries.

‘VisitBritain encourages visitors to explore all our nations and regions so I am particularly pleased that spending growth across the Rest of England (outside of London) and Scotland is faster than for London, which itself had a record breaking year.

‘These strong results underpin the forecast that inbound tourism will continue to grow by over 6% a year across the rest of this decade, making a significant contribution to the UK’s balance of payments and continuing to offer rapidly growing employment opportunities.

‘Tourism is, and always will be, a major part of the British economy.’

VisitBritain is the national tourism agency, responsible for marketing Britain worldwide and developing Britain’s visitor economy. The agency, which is funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, works with partners in the UK and overseas to ensure that Britain is marketed in an appropriate way around the world.