Visitor numbers to Britain increased to an all-time high in the six months to June 2014, the government’s Department for Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) revealed on Friday.
According to the DCMS, data from the UK’s producer of official statistics, the Office for National Statistics (ONS), shows that the number of overseas tourists visiting the UK rose by 8% compared to the first six months of 2013. A total of 16.4 million inbound visits to Britain were recorded from January to June 2014 and a record number of overseas tourists visited the UK in June alone, an increase of 10% to 3.18 million, compared to June 2013.
In addition, the ONS figures show that a record GBP1.97bn was spent by visitors to Britain in June 2014, an increase of 4% in nominal terms.
More people from EU countries visited Britain in the first 6 months of 2014 and there was also strong growth of 20% in the number of visits from people from non-EU European regions, with a record number of visits for June 2014. This was an increase of 28% compared to June last year.
Helen Grant, Minister for Tourism, commented: “It’s fantastic that Britain’s tourism industry is performing so strongly with a record number of visits for 2014 so far and highest ever spend for June. It shows the Government’s tourism strategy is working – creating more jobs, encouraging greater spend and growing the economy.”
The DCMS added that as a result of a ministerial reshuffle, Nick Boles, the Minister of State for Skills, will replace Matthew Hancock as a co-chair on the Tourism Council, a partnership between the Government and the tourism and hospitality sector. The Tourism Council was initiated in June 2014 and has been formed to improve skills, increase the quality and quantity of jobs available in tourism and boost enterprise in the sector.
Commenting on the latest tourism figures, Boles said: “The tourism sector is thriving in Britain but there is still more we can do to help the sector continue to grow. The Tourism Council will help do exactly that and I am looking forward to working with all the members in the future, as co-chair.”