Following a record-breaking January for inbound visits, United Kingdom breaks a new February record with 8 percent increase in arrival of international visitors to the UK, and 6% increase in spend.
The Office for National Statistics figures show that 2.25 million visits were made in February 2016 with visitors spending £1.08 billion. Strong growth was seen in business visits, 12% up on the same month last year with 750,000 visits and securing an all-time February high.
Visits and spend figures
|February 2016||Last 3 months (Dec 15-Feb 16)|
|% change vs Feb15||% change vs Dec 14-Feb 15|
|All visits (000)||2,250||8%||7,310||6%|
|Rolling 12 months
(Mar 15-Feb 16)
|Benchmark to best ever rolling 12 months|
|% change vs Mar 14-Feb 15||When||Record||Current deficit|
|Total visits (000)||36,110||5%||Mar 15-Feb 16||36,110||0|
|Spend (£m)||£21,820||1%||Jul 14-Jun 15||£22,025||-205|
VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said, “These back-to-back record-breaking figures leave no doubt that 2016 is off to a cracking start for inbound tourism as we continue, through our international marketing campaigns, to promote Britain as the ‘Home of Amazing Moments,’ inspiring even more visitors to come and explore all our nations and regions.”
Tourism Minister David Evennett said, "This record-breaking start to the year shows that our fantastic array of attractions remain hugely popular with visitors from all over the world.
"There is so much to see and do across the whole of the UK and we are absolutely committed to encouraging tourists to see all the hidden gems we have to offer."
And Britain as a tourist destination could also expect another boost from its time in the global media spotlight this week following Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday yesterday, the arrival of US President Barack Obama, and the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death on Saturday 23 April.
VisitBritain is running a social media campaign from its twitter handle @VisitBritain to encourage President Obama to tweet during his visit using #OMGB (Oh My Great Britain) - the hashtag at the heart of the organisation’s marketing campaign for 2016 to promote Britain as the ‘Home of Amazing Moments’. President Obama has the highest number of Twitter followers and Facebook fans of any world leader with more than 73 million followers and 48 million fans respectively.
Last year set a record for inbound tourism to Britain with 35.8 million visits, 4% up on 2014. Comparing growth over the last five years shows that there were six million more visits in 2015 than 2010, an increase of 20%.
Tourism is Britain's seventh largest export industry and third largest service sector. The industry is also a major job creator, for example every 22 additional Chinese visitors that come to Britain create an additional job in the sector.
Inbound tourism is worth more than £26 billion to the UK economy.