Inbound tourism figures to the UK reached record levels last year, with 35.8 million visits…

This represented a 4% rise on 2014 and the sixth consecutive year of growth. Since 2010, the number of visits has jumped 20%.

Meanwhile, visitor spend for 2015 was £21.8 billion, in line with 2014’s record breaking figure.

VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said: “This growth is really fantastic news for the UK economy and shows we’re on track to realise our ambition to grow international visits by more than 20% to 42 million by 2020, which could see an additional £4.5 billion in visitor spend, as well as driving tourism across all our nations and region so its benefits are felt across the whole of Britain.”

Latest forecasts from VisitBritain show that growth in visitor numbers is set to continue this year with 36.7 million visits expected in 2016.

Despite the strength of sterling, spending by overseas visitors is predicted to climb to almost £23 billion this year.

In 2015, visits from North America showed growth of 8% last year compared to 2014, with 3.9 million visits.

It was a record year for visits from the EU15 markets, with a 2% increase on 2014 to 19.9 million visits.

A record was also set for visits from the ‘Rest of the World’ with 5.6 million, a 6% increase on 2014.

When split into reasons for travel, record results were seen in the number of holiday visits to the UK with 13.7 million visits, 1% up on 2014, as well as those visiting friends and relatives, 10.5 million, up 7%.

Visits for business rose 6%, with 8.7 million visits, and people coming for other ‘miscellaneous journey purposes’ was up 5% with 2.9 million visits.

Earlier this month, VisitBritain launched its international marketing campaign for 2016 promoting memorable moments visitors can only experience on a trip to Britain.

Running across four markets – Brazil, France, Germany and the US – the campaign is based on research by VisitBritain which found that communicating atmosphere and emotion is important in attracting overseas visitors.

While Britain was seen as offering great cultural sights, VisitBritain said it was considered less strong on communicating the promise of emotive and immersive experiences.

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