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Overseas visitors forecast to spend £23bn in UK in 2016

By Emma Eversham+ , 04-Jan-2016

Overseas visitors forecast to spend £23bn in UK in 2016

Spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach £23bn this year as the number of visits to the UK rise, according to forecasts by VisitBritain. 

The national tourism body expects a 4.3 per cent increase in spending on last year due to a 3.8 per cent rise in the number of visits to 35.5 million by the end of the year. 

Although no major sporting event will take place in the UK this year, VisitBritain said a big focus on the arts, with events such as the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death, and milestones celebrated by musical stars such as Tom Jones, The Rolling Stones and The Kinks, would help draw in international visitors. 

Its forecast, which considers the wider global economy and exchange rates alongside other major factors, is not as high as it could be due to slower growth in emerging markets, however, VisitBritain chief executive Sally Balcombe said the forecast put VisitBritain on track to 'realise its ambition for growing international visits to Britain by 20 per cent over the next five years'. 

“Everything we do is motivated by the goal to add value to the tourism industry by building our competitive tourism offer and driving economic growth and jobs across all our nations and regions, so that the benefits of tourism are felt across the whole of Britain," she said. 

“We are competing in a tough international environment and these results highlight how strongly the tourism sector, one of the UK’s fastest growing export industries, has performed and how the Government’s tourism strategy, supported by the GREAT campaign, is producing results.”