UK tourism 'anticipates strong summer' as international visits rise

By Emma Eversham contact

- Last updated on GMT

UK tourism 'anticipates strong summer' as international visits rise

Related tags: United arab emirates

National tourism agency VisitBritain is 'anticipating a strong summer' after latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) recorded a record first quarter for inbound tourists. 

Between January and March this year visits from the US, Australia, Spain, Germany and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) all grew with visits from the US, the UK's most valuable visitor market, growing by 9 per cent to 542,000.

Visits from EU countries were up 10 per cent overall with visits from Germany rising 24 per cent to 602,000. Australia's visits were up 10 per cent to 157,000 with spending increasing by 30 per cent to £173m. 

While spend wasn't as high from the UAE as Australia, visits from the region were up 15 per cent to 77,000, the strongest first quarter on record for this region, with spend also up 9 per cent to £105 million. 

Great summer

With the weakened pound also making the UK a more affordable destination for many overseas tourists, VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said the UK's tourism sector could expect 'a great summer'. 

“It’s really encouraging to see strong growth in visits from some of our most important markets and we now have the opportunity to build on this as Britain is offering great value for inbound visitors," she said. 

“We are anticipating a strong summer holiday season as we spread this message of value and continue our global #OMGB ‘Home of Amazing Moments’ marketing campaign to inspire visitors with the amazing experiences they can only find in Britain and work with partners to offer great tactical deals to drive bookings. It’s a great summer to come to Britain.”

Capital benefits

London was one of the biggest beneficiaries of an increase in inbound visitors to the UK, receiving a record 3.8 million visits from overseas travellers in the first three months of this year, an increase of 7 per cent. 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan used to figures to re-iterate his message that London welcomed international tourists. 

“Yet again we have seen a rise in the number of visitors to London, which underlines how important our world-renowned art, culture, sport, architecture and history is to the capital," he said. 

“My message is clear: London is open and welcomes visitors from every corner of the globe.”

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