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18 Aug 2017

Weak pound attracts record number of visitors in June

The UK attracted a record number of overseas visitors during June – thanks largely to the collapse in the value of the pound since the Brexit vote.

In total, there were 3.5 million visits to the UK in June, up 7 per cent on June 2016.

Overseas visitor spend also increased, reaching £2.2bn in June, up 2 per cent on 2016 levels.

The fastest growing inbound market for the UK is currently North America, with 650,000 visitors arriving during June – a 35 per cent increase on 2016 figures.

Earlier this year, online travel firm Expedia reported an 80 per cent jump in UK summer bookings from across the Atlantic between January and March, compared with the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Worldpay, the UK's largest payments processor, recently said it had tracked spending on cards of around £643m by visitors in June – and predicted that a total of £2.4bn would be spent by visitors to the UK this summer.

As a result of the strong June, the overall number of overseas visits to the UK in the first half of the year – from January to June – now stands at a record-breaking 19.1 million, up 9 per cent from 2016.

VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said: “Tourism is one of Britain’s most valuable export industries and this continued growth demonstrates the industry’s increasing importance as a key driver of economic growth across our nations and regions.

“The tourism industry is making a compelling case to be one of the industries included in the government’s industrial strategy to ensure Britain continues to compete globally. We have already revised our forecast upwards for 2017.”

Last year set a record for inbound tourism to Britain on visits and spend with 37.6 million visits, up 4 per cent on 2015, with visitors spending £22.5bn, up 2 per cent.

Tourism is worth an estimated £127bn annually to the UK economy.

• Additionally, the latest flight booking data from ForwardKeys shows that bookings for international arrivals to the UK from August to October are up 9 per cent on the same period last year.

Bookings from China are up 20 per cent and the US up 23 per cent.

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