The latest figures from Britain's Office for National Statistics indicate that the first half of 2014 was the strongest first half of the year in history for inbound British tourism. There were 16.4 million inbound visits to Britain from January to June 2014, setting a new record for this time period and an increase of 8 percent compared to the first half of 2013.
June saw a 10 percent increase in overseas visitors from the previous year for a total of 3.18 million, a new record. Visitor spending in June 2014 also increased by 4 percent in nominal terms, setting a new June record of £1.97 billion. Looking at the six-month period from January to June, spending is on par with the amount spent during the same period in 2013, but the longer term view of the last twelve months shows a nominal 7 percent increase, compared to a year ago.
Leisure visits performed well across the first half of 2014 and accounted for 44 percent of visits in June, setting another monthly record of 1.4 million visits - the fifth monthly record for leisure visits set so far this year. During the first six months of this year, leisure tourism numbers were 12 percent above 2013 results.
Business visits are continuing to show improvement in 2014, up 6 percent in June 2014 compared to June 2013. Looking over the rolling 12 months to June 2014, there has been a 5 percent lift in business visits, though not quite reaching 2008 levels.
As figures hit the halfway mark of 2014, Britain saw more visits from its largest visit-generating region, the EU15 countries, than in the first six months of 2013, up 10 percent and setting a new June record of 1.78 million along the way. There were also record levels of visits from the non-EU European regions in June, up 28 percent, while the year-to-date figures show a 20 percent increase compared to the same time in 2013.
During June, visits from the Rest of the World regions (Asia Pacific, Middle East, Latin America and Africa) were in line with June last year, but after a good start to the year are currently 2 percent higher over the first 6 months of this year in comparison with 2013.