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Record Year for UK tourism Industry as spend breaks £21 billion

Tourism sector playing crucial role in helping drive economic growth as overseas residents visits and spend hit record high 

Britain’s tourism industry enjoyed a record year in 2013 as visitor numbers and spend reached an all-time-high, latest figures from the Office of National Statistics reveal.

Overseas visitors spent £21.01 billion in the UK in 2013, up 12.7 per cent year-on-year. There was a record 32.8 million visits from overseas residents, up by 5.6 per cent year-on-year.

Strong growth was helped by an increasing number of Chinese visitors coming to the UK. The number of visits from people from China was up 9.7 per cent to 196,000 with spend up 63.8 per cent to £491.7 million.

Minister for Tourism Helen Grant said:

The number of overseas residents visiting the UK is at an all-time high and they’re spending more money than ever before too. This shows how strongly our tourism sector is performing, playing a vital role in the economy’s upturn. I am also encouraged at the increasing number of Chinese tourists that are visiting the UK - up almost 10 per cent year-on-year - given the hard work we have put in to target that market. Now it’s about keeping up the momentum and continuing to sell Britain hard as a great place to visit.

The figures also showed a strong increase in visitor numbers and spend from India, Germany, Australia and South Korea, Malaysia and Mexico.

The top seven cities stayed in by overseas visitors remained the same – London, Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Glasgow and Oxford.

Strong year-on-year growth in visits also came from Brighton, Bath, York, Nottingham, Aberdeen and Southampton.

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