VisitBritain.com has revealed that visitors to the UK were definitely up this year in October, compared to last year – with numbers almost as high as October 2007 when 2.82 million arrived on our shores.
International visitors numbers and spending in the UK are up, with more visitors from abroad choosing Great Britain for holidays as well as friends and family visits. There were more visitors from non-EU countries, too.
Spending was a record £1.7 billion this October which is 2% up on the previous record of £1.6 billion in October 2010 (before taking account of inflation). Building on the record spend seen in the summer this has resulted in record earnings so far in 2011 of £14.9 billion, 4% higher than the year to date for the same point in 2010.
Strong arrivals from the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland have pushed up visitors numbers by 46% compared to October last year, 21% higher than the previous record in October 2005.
More travellers are visiting from Brazil, recording a phenomenal 47% rise so far in 2011 compared to the first ten months of 2010, along with China (28%) and Russia (19%) have also been heading over here.
Patricia Yates, Director of Strategy and Communications at VisitBritain said: “We have had a particularly good year so far in both visitors and spend, especially from those coming from the emerging tourism markets like Brazil, China and Russia where we need to compete strongly to ensure Britain maintains its position near the top of the world rankings.”
Next year, VisitBritain launches a new campaign to attract visitors to Britain during the year of the London Olympics. Yates added:
“In the new year our ‘GREAT Britain – You’re Invited’ campaign will look to build on the positive gains made in the “visiting friends and family (VFR) market, enticing potential visitors with the warm welcome of their friends and family here in the UK and putting Britain on the destinations wish list for millions across the globe”.
London aside, many of Britain’s beauty spots – the Lake District, Devon and Cornwall and the Highlands of Scotland – are top favourites both with hotel guests as well as timeshare owners.
We may not be blessed with limitless sunshine, but Britain’s fascinating heritage, Royal Family, British traditions and vibrant cosmopolitan cities continue to attract overseas visitors year on year – in fact tourism is the fifth largest industry in the UK and is Britain’s third largest earner of foreign exchange. VisitBritain believes tourism has the potential to be one of the five fastest growing sectors of the UK economy in the years ahead, creating new jobs and economic growth – all of which can only be good news.