Good news for Great Britain: Figures released today show that the UK has received 20.9 million overseas visitors so far this year, in line with VisitBritain’s forecast that the country should expect around 31 million inbound arrivals in 2012 and spending around £18 billion in the process.
August saw a 9 percent increase in visitor spend, with an all-time monthly record £2.38 billion injected into the UK economy. This means that £12.3 billion has been spent in the UK by overseas visitors so far this year, up 3 percent from 2011 and this also a record. As expected, arrivals in August showed a slight dip overall, with over 3 million visits, down 5 percent from 2011. However, this leaves overall visits for the year to date at the same level as 2011.
Also released today were figures showing just how many international visitors to the UK attended an official, ticketed Olympic or Paralympic Games sports event during their stay. Some 590,000 overseas visitors indicated that they had come to the UK, either attending a ticketed event, participating or working at the Games themselves. These visitors spent around £760 million while in the country, on average spending £1,290, almost double what visitors would normally spend.
Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive at VisitBritain said: “The first six months of the year saw a record in terms of both the number of holiday arrivals and the amount of spend, and with August’s figures we are now at the same level as we were in 2011. Nearly 600,000 people have received the very warmest of British welcomes first hand as part of their Games experience, while millions of viewers around the world have seen Britain at its very best.
VisitBritain is rolling out of the next phase of its GREAT marketing campaign focussed on 21 key inbound markets to help ensure that the unprecedented publicity Britain received during the Games is converted into real visits. This sees a high profile image campaign and a range of special offers unveiled, designed to entice visitors to Britain and build a secure future for the UK tourism industry.
The national tourism agency is currently consulting with the industry to deliver a blueprint for tourism that will result in 40 million visitors a year by 2020.