According to figures from VisitEngland’s Great Britain Tourism Survey, the number of overnight leisure trips in Britain grew by 6 per cent during January to March 2011, driving an increase in visitor spend for the period of over £170m.
However the number of business travellers declined by 1 per cent for the same period, meaning total business spend was also down from £945m to £925m.
Overall growth in the quarter was driven by an 11 per cent increase in overnight stays in Britain during January and a 15 per cent increase during February. England saw similar growth patterns with a 13 per cent rise in January and 14 per cent increase in February, which equated to an overall increase for the three month period of 4 per cent.
However figures plummeted during March, which saw an 8 per cent decrease in the number of overnight stays in Britain – down 8.7 million from the same period last year.
VisitEngland claims the forthcoming double bank holiday in April and later Easter holidays were to blame for the poor results.
The news comes as UK tourism agency VisitBritain reported an 11 per cent increase in overseas leisure visitors to the UK from March to May 2011; a result Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communications described as showing ‘real signs of growth for British tourism’.