The figures, released today as part of the tourism agency’s 2015-16 review, show that 36.1m visitors spent a total of £22.1bn in Britain in 2015.
The US remains Britain’s biggest inbound market with American tourists spending £3bn in the country for the first time last year.
Visits from China rose by 46 per cent, with spending up 18 per cent, moving the country in to Britain’s top 10 most valuable markets.
The figures follow record levels of tourists visiting the UK in the month after the Brexit vote this year, as overseas visitors took advantage of the weakened pound.
A total of 3.8m people visited the UK in July, a two per cent rise year-on-year, with tourists spending £2.5bn.
Christopher Rodrigues, chair of the British Tourist Authority, said the industry was in ‘pole position’ to deliver more growth.
“While the talk is of trade deals with new markets, tourism is already leading the way, competing strongly in our most valuable source markets such as the US and in markets that are crucial for our future, including China," he said.
Domestic visitors also spent more in England in 2015 than ever before, with Britons spending £19.6 billion on overnight trips, up 8 per cent on 2014.