The International Passenger Survey (IPS) found that there were 3.1 million visitors to Britain, down by two per cent on August 2010 and well below the record August 2006 which saw 3.7 million visits. Holiday visits to the UK and visits from world regions were both down.
However, visitor spending for the month was in fact at a record high, three per cent higher than 2010. Following record levels in June and July, this has resulted in a four per cent increase in earnings so far in 2011, a total of £11.65bn.
“These August 2011 figures show real signs of stability in what has been a strong 2011 to date,” said Sandie Dawe, chief executive at VisitBritain. “Now as we are right in the mix of rolling out our biggest, most ambitious tourism marketing programme for 10 years we can see that Britain is recovering its international appeal with double-digit holiday growth in the first quarter and promising figures during our peak Summer months.”
Third most admired country
“Coupled with the UK’s recent improvement in overseas sentiment, these August figures provide us with a good platform to invite the world to visit Britain.”
These statistics follow the news that the UK has moved up the world rankings to the ‘third most admired country’ in the latest Anholt-GfK Roper NBI report.
Analysis of ‘year so far’ figures has been complicated by the lower-than-usual comparison figures for spring and early summer 2010, due to ash cloud disruption and strike action at British Airways.