English regions see spike in international tourist numbers

By Helen Gilbert

- Last updated on GMT

More international tourists headed to the English regions than ever befor last year. Photo: VisitEngland
More international tourists headed to the English regions than ever befor last year. Photo: VisitEngland

Related tags: England, Visitbritain

The number of international tourists flocking to English regions has hit a record level with some areas experiencing double digit growth in visitor numbers, latest figures compiled for VisitBritain have revealed.

In the first nine months of 2015, trips to English regions outside London totalled 11.7 million – up 7 per cent on the same period in 2014.

The North East enjoyed a 23 per cent rise in tourists to 460,000, while the North West experienced a 12 per cent jump to 2.1 million compared to the year before.

The West Midlands also witnessed a spike in visits – up 8 per cent to 1.6m, while numbers descending on the East Midlands rose by 15 per cent to 880,000.

Visits to the South West grew 6 per cent to 1.9m, the South East 9 per cent to 4m and the East of England 5 per cent to 1.7m during the first nine months of 2015.

The Office of National Statistics findings also revealed that July to September 2015 was a record breaker for a quarter three period - altogether there were 4.7m visits to English regions - an 8 per cent increase on 2014 - beating the previous record set in 2006.

Spending by international visitors across the regions also climbed 4 per cent to £5.8 billion over the same period.


“We invested £10 million in 2015 to boost tourism in the North and these figures show that it is already making a huge difference, bringing more visitors to the area,” tourism minister David Evennett said.

“A booming tourism industry supports local economies, brings job growth to the regions and helps cement their reputation as must-visit destinations.”
The English regions proved most popular with tourists from Germany, France and the Irish Republic. Visits from China also rose 47% to 116,000 and the number arriving from Canada jumped 20% to 241,000.

“Inbound tourism is one of our fastest growing export industries and with five years of consecutive growth in visitor numbers and record-breaking figures for 2015, it is really encouraging to see that this growth is being spread across so many of our regions,” VisitBritain director Patricia Yates added.

Earlier this month VisitBritain launched its largest international marketing campaign for 2016, which promotes memorable moments visitors can only experience on a trip to Britain.
Latest forecasts from VisitBritain show that the growth in visitor numbers is set to continue this year with 36.7 million visits expected in 2016. 

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