Overall visits in the first five months of 2014 reach new record – up 7% on 2013; Record holiday visits in May for fourth out of five months; 13% increase in visits from areas outside Europe and North America.
There were more overseas visits to Britain in May 2014 – 3.2 million – than in any previous May, according to the latest International Passenger Survey figures released by the Office for National Statistics. This represents a 4% rise in volume of visits compared to May last year.
Out of these overall visits, there were 1.4 million holiday visits in May, making it the fourth month out of the first five months of this year to achieve a record number of holiday visits. It was also a record-breaking May for Business visits, thanks to a 6% increase on last year.
These latest figures take the number of international visits to Britain for the first five months of this year up to 13.23 million – a new record and a 7% rise on the same period in 2013. The amount spent by overseas visitors during these first five months of 2014 stood at £6.95bn – 1% lower in nominal terms than for the same period of last year.
Looking at the rolling twelve months to May 2014, there were a record 33.73 million visits from overseas, up 8% on the year before, while spending of £20.97bn is also 8% up in nominal terms.
May was also a record-breaking month in terms of the number of visits from the high-volume EU15 markets such as Germany and France, which saw a 4% annual increase. Visits from areas outside of Europe and North America rose 13% to 480,000. North American visits were unchanged on a year ago during May, which means that in the past three months they are up 5% compared with the same period of 2013.
Patricia Yates, Director of Strategy and Communications at VisitBritain said: “To have four months out of five reaching new records for holiday visits is a great achievement – and that’s even before we hit the seasonal summer months. These results highlight Britain’s strength as a year-round destination. If the rest of the year continues like this, 2014 is set to be another excellent year for inbound tourism to Britain.”
Minister for Tourism, Helen Grant, commented: “It’s great news that visitor numbers in the twelve months to May are at a record high and spend for that period is up by 8 per cent to over £20 billion. We still have some fantastic big events that will attract overseas visitors in the coming months such as the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup. The Government is completely committed to doing all we can to help the tourism industry. Today we are hosting the first meeting of the Tourism Council to help further boost jobs and growth in this dynamic sector.”
Photo caption: Warwickshire.
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