VisitBritain Reports Increase in Inbound UK Arrivals

Great news from the UK today: VisitBritain has reported that 30.6 million overseas visitors came to the UK in 2011, a three percent rise in overseas arrivals from 2010. The year sees a record number of holiday visitors and a record year in visitor spending.
With December’s arrival figures up two percent, 2011 finished on a high and show that it was a year of positive gains for British tourism, with an overall increase of 800,000 visitors across the year.
Visitors spent a record $28 billion in the UK, up five percent over 2010 and pointing towards an average spend of $788 per visit and an increase of 2 percent on the previous record. The increase in spend has been helped along by the pound being more favorable than it has been for many years, offering a better value for money.
2011 also saw a record number of vacation visits, with just under 12 million overseas residents choosing to come to Britain and strengthening gains made in this market over the last few years. Growth in holiday arrivals across the year was particularly strong in the first three quarters of the year from countries including Australia, the U.S., Italy, the Netherlands and Brazil.

Looking at where other positive gains have been made throughout 2011, it is evident that emerging markets such as Brazil (up 51 percent), Russia (20 percent) and China (32 percent) have been helping to drive the visitor growth. Arrivals from North America have increased four percent, the highest levels seen since 2008. European markets have largely remained the same from 2010, with just a one percent increase over the year.
These figures have meant Britain’s tourism balance of payments deficit decreased by the equivalent of $2.5 billion, down 11 percent from the previous year.
Looking at the December IPS figures, which track inbound visits to UK, the national tourism agency said that the end of the 2011 saw 2.1 million arrivals for the month, two percent higher than for the same period in 2010.
Results are taken from Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey. Further analysis of the figures is available on the VisitBritain website.

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