The DCMS have announced figures for the number of visits by overseas tourists to the UK, with an all time high recorded for the six months to June. Figures from the Office for National Statistics revealed there were 16.4 million inbound visits to Britain from January to June 2014 – up 8% compared to the first half of 2013. This also accounts for more visits to Museums and galleries.
The month of June alone saw a record number of visits from overseas tourists, at 3.18 million, up 10% on June 2013. Spend by visitors to Britain in June 2014 also increased, by 4% in nominal terms, to a record £1.97 billion.
Commenting on the figures Minister for Tourism Helen Grant said: “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”.
Britain has seen more visits from people from EU countries for the first 6 months of 2014. There was also strong growth in the number of visits from people from non-EU European regions – up 20 per cent for the six months to June compared to 2013, with a record number of visits for June, up 28% on June 2013.
David Edwards, Head of Research and Forecasting at VisitBritain, said: “Tourism is an essential part of the wider success of our economy and these first six months have set us up for what could be another record year for inbound tourism”. It’s also hugely positive to see growth both from our high volume European markets and also emerging markets across Asia and Latin America.
On top of the latest tourism figures, it has also been announced that following last month’s ministerial reshuffle the Minister of State for Skills, Nick Boles will replace Matthew Hancock as a co-chair on the Tourism Council.
The Tourism Council, announced by the Minister for Tourism Helen Grant at the British Hospitality Association summit in June, is a new partnership between the Government and the tourism and hospitality sector that will focus on improving skills, increasing the quality and quantity of jobs available in tourism and boosting enterprise in the industry.
Minister for Skills, Nick 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”.