Britain's Office for National Statistics released the latest International Passenger Survey figures today, reporting that the country saw a full 3.2 million international visitors this past May--a record for the month. This represents a 4 percent rise in volume of visits compared to May last year.
Out of these overall visits, there were 1.4 million leisure visits in May, making it the fourth month out of the first five months of this year to achieve a record number of leisure travelers. It was also a record-breaking May for Business visits, with a 6 percent increase on last year.
These latest figures take the number of international visits to Britain for the first five months of this year up to 13.23 million – a new record and a 7 percent rise on the same period in 2013. The amount spent by overseas visitors during these first five months of 2014 stood at £6.95 billion - 1 percent lower in nominal terms than for the same period of last year.
Year-over-year to May 2014, Britain saw a record 33.73 million visits from overseas, up 8 percent on the year before, while spending of £20.97 billion is also 8 percent up in nominal terms.
May was also a record-breaking month in terms of the number of visits from the high-volume EU15 markets such as Germany and France, which saw a 4 percent annual increase. Visits from areas outside of Europe and North America rose 13 percent to 480,000. North American visits were unchanged on a year ago during May, which means that in the past three months they are up 5 percent compared with the same period of 2013.
“To have four months out of five reaching new records for holiday visits is a great achievement - and that’s even before we hit the seasonal summer months," noted Patricia Yates, director of Strategy and Communications at VisitBritain in a statement.
Minister for Tourism, Helen Grant, noted that the country still has several events that are poised to attract more visitors throughout 2014, including the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup. "The Government is completely committed to doing all we can to help the tourism industry," she added. "Today we are hosting the first meeting of the Tourism Council to help further boost jobs and growth in this dynamic sector.”