New full-year inbound tourism figures released today reveal that 2014 was a record year for both inbound visits and overseas visitor spending in the UK.
The latest International Passenger Survey figures show that overseas visitors spent £21.7 billion in Britain last year, 3% up on 2013 and a new record in both nominal and real terms. The number of inbound visits reached a record 34.8 million, up by nearly 2 million – 6% – on 2013.
Inbound tourism from North America – Britain’s most valuable tourism source market – delivered annual visit growth of 4% last year to 3.7 million, making it the best year for visits since 2008. VisitBritain is currently running its Countryside is GREAT campaign in the US to boost visits to a wider range of locations across the country. With the current strengthening of the Pound against the US Dollar, there is real potential for further growth from Britain’s most valuable market going forward.
Last year was also a record year for visits from the high volume EU15 markets, with a 7% annual increase, beating the previous 2007 record by more than one million visits.
An 8% annual increase took holiday visits to a record number of 13.7 million during 2014 – over one million up on 2013 and two million higher than in 2010. Business visits were at their highest since 2007 last year, growing by 5% to 8.4 million visits.
Sally Balcombe, Chief Executive at VisitBritain said: “Inbound tourism is increasing year-after-year, with Britain now achieving its second consecutive annual record, with further growth forecast for 2015.
“The marketplace for global tourism is getting tougher, but the Government’s GREAT campaign and VisitBritain’s successful global marketing activity has meant that tourism is increasingly becoming an essential part of the wider success of our economy. Such positive growth from North America is very encouraging and we will look to boost this further with our 2015 Countryside is GREAT campaign, sending all these valuable visitors across the nations and regions of Britain.”
Minister for Tourism Helen Grant said: “I am delighted that tourists from overseas are coming to our country in record numbers, spending more and enjoying the very best of Britain. It confirms that our tourism strategy is working and highlights the important role the industry plays in the government’s long-term economic plan. I will continue to work hard with the sector to encourage tourists to visit all parts of the country to further boost local growth and jobs.”