Statistics released by the ONS today show more overseas tourists visited the UK in June than ever before.
A record 3.5 million overseas visitors flocked to the UK in June, the highest number on record.
Overseas visitors spent £2.2bn during the period, a 2% rise compared to the same month last year.
The figures were boosted by strong growth from North America in particular with 650,000 visits in June, up 35% on last year.
This brings the overall number of overseas visits to the UK for January to June this year to a record-breaking 19.1 million, up 9% compared to the same period in 2016. Overseas visitors spent a record £10.6bn, up 11% on 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.”
Tourism minister John Glen added: "Promoting the UK to the world and ensuring the whole country benefits from our thriving tourism industry is a key priority.
"These record figures highlight the huge contribution tourism makes to our economy and I will continue to work closely with the industry across the UK to help it build on this success."
Latest flight booking data from ForwardKeys also shows that bookings for international arrivals to the UK from August to October are up 9% on the same period last year. Considering specific markets, bookings from China are up 20% and the US up 23%.
Last year set a record for inbound tourism to Britain on visits and spend with 37.6 million visits, up 4% on 2015 with visitors spending £22.5bn, up 2%.
Tourism is worth £127bn annually to the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across its nations and regions.
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