A total of 214,000 visits occurred between January and September, beating the total number of visits in 2014, while spend in this period increased year-on-year by four per cent to £435m.
With the Chinese New Year approaching, Britain is preparing for another boost in figures as it aims to host some of the largest celebrations outside Asia from lantern parades in Manchester and London’s Chinatown, to festivals and events in Glasgow, Birmingham, Newcastle and Bristol.
China looks set to be a major provider of incoming tourism for the UK after the Government announced a visa pilot scheme to make it easier for Chinese nationals to visit the country more often.
Chinese visitors spend an average of £2,688 per person, putting them among the UK’s highest spenders, with plans in place to double their spend to £1b by 2020.
VisitBritain director, Patricia Yates, said: “China is the world’s largest outbound market and a huge tourism opportunity for Britain. Chinese New Year is traditionally one of the busiest travel times for Chinese travellers and we want Britain to be at the top of their list as a must-go now destination.”
Figures from VisitBritain’s International Passenger Survey also demonstrated strong growth in tourism from the USA in 2015. An increase of seven per cent during the first nine months up to 2.6m made it the UK’s strongest market and marked the best figures since 2007.
Visitor numbers from Germany rose one per cent year-on-year to 2.6m, with spending from France increasing by nine per cent to see it overtake Germany as the UK’s second largest market by value at a figure of £1.2b.
Visits from India rose 13 per cent, while strong growth in numbers from the Gulf countries saw an increase in this time period of 32 per cent to 273k and a spend increase by three per cent to £378m.