Destination UK! Brexit fuels record tourist boom as more than 25 MILLION people visit from the rest of the EU
- There were 39.2million visits from travellers all over the globe to the UK in 2017
- Tourists enticed by spectacular attractions and the weak pound, figures show
- Country welcomed record numbers from China, India and the Gulf states, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the US, Australia and the European Union
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Record numbers of visitors flocked to Britain last year as tourists were enticed by spectacular attractions and the weak pound, figures show.
There were 39.2million visits from travellers all over the globe to the UK in 2017, up 4 per cent on the previous year to the highest number ever.
Crowd pleaser: Stonehenge has become one of the country’s massive draws in recent years
Tourist flocked to attractions such as the Tower of London, which had 2.74million visitors from home and abroad in 2016. Stonehenge, Chester Zoo and the Lake District have also become massive draws.
Visits to the UK from the rest of the EU hit a record 25.6million last year. Figures show Europeans are still travelling to Brexit Britain with £10billion spent.
Spending by overseas visitors also hit a new high in 2017, rising by 9 per cent to £24.5billion, according to the Office for National Statistics and Visit Britain.
Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays, said: ‘Visitors from overseas can’t seem to get enough of “Destination UK”, and its world class attractions with almost 40million foreign tourists making the trip to these shores during last year, the highest recorded figure.
‘Boosted by the weakness of sterling, the UK’s position as a leading draw continues to bring benefit to our hospitality and leisure businesses, as well as to the retail sector.
‘In uncertain economic and political times, it’s reassuring to see an increase year on year in the number of overseas travellers coming here as well as spending more than £24billion on visits in 2017, which bodes well for the sector.’
Tourism minister Michael Ellis said: ‘Britain’s tourism industry is booming. Last year was another record-breaker and we welcomed more people than ever from important markets including China, India and the Gulf states.
The Natural History Museum in London is one of Britain’s many world renowned, free attractions
‘We are working hard to sustain this excellent growth and encourage international visitors to travel around the UK, ensuring that more communities can benefit.’
Visit Britain director Patricia Yates said: ‘Tourism is one of Britain’s most valuable export industries and the strong growth across many of our high-value markets demonstrates our ability to attract international visitors in a fiercely competitive global industry, and to deliver economic growth right across the country.’
Visits from the US rose 13 per cent to 3.9million, the highest since 2000, with American spending up 9 per cent to a record £3.6billion. Chinese visitor numbers were up 29 per cent to a record 337,000 last year, with spending up 35 per cent to £694million.
There were also 1.1million from Australia in 2017, up 11 per cent, with spending up 13 per cent to £1.2billion.
Although the 812,000 Gulf state visitors accounted for just 2 per cent of the total, their total outlay jumped 55 per cent to £2.2billion – some 9 per cent of spending.