More international tourists visiting the nations and regions than ever before

More international tourists are visiting the nations and regions than ever before.

Official statistics released today show that in the first nine months of 2017 there were a record 12.7 million visits to English regions outside London, up 4% compared to the same period in 2016.

International visitors spent £6.1 billion across England’s regions during this period.

There were also 909,000 overseas visits to Wales from January to September last year, up 6% compared to the same time in 2016, and visitors spent £337 million. 

In Scotland, overseas visits increased 14% to 2.6 million in the first nine months of 2017 compared to the same time in 2016, with overseas visitors spending £1.8 billion. 

Tourism Minister Michael Ellis said:

"It is fantastic news that towns and cities across the UK are benefitting from the boom in tourism, and as the new Tourism Minister I want to ensure that this trend continues.

"Promoting the UK as a must visit destination to the rest of the world is paramount in ensuring that local areas can reap the benefits of tourism and I am committed to working with the sector to drive economic growth across the UK."

VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said:  

“Boosting inbound tourism throughout Britain is at the heart of our work, so it is very encouraging to see the growth across our nations and regions. Tourism is one of our most valuable export industries and we are forecasting that growth will continue in 2018, with 41.7 million overseas visits to the UK and visitors spending almost £27 billion."

Of the English regions, the North West and the West Midlands had the largest percentage growth in overseas visits, both up 10% compared to January to September 2016 to 2.4 million and 1.8 million respectively.

Inbound tourism to the UK overall

Overall, there were a record 30.1 million inbound visits to the UK from January to September 2017, up 7% on the same period the previous year.

There were a record 268,000 visits to the UK from China from January to September last year, up 33% and spending up 48% to a record £557 million.

Record spend was seen from visitors from Germany who spent £1.3 billion in the UK, up 5% on January to September 2016 with visits up 2% to 2.6 million. There were a record 1.9 million overseas visits from Spain to the UK, up 11%, and visitor spending up 14% to £861 million.

VisitBritain is forecasting that growth from inbound tourism is set to continue in 2018 with 41.7 million overseas visits to the UK, up 4.4% on 2017.

Spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach £26.9 billion in 2018, up 6.8% on 2017.

Tourism is worth £127 billion to the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across its nations and regions.