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International tourism to English regions hits record levels

More international tourists are visiting the nations and regions than ever before, up 4 per cent year-on-year to 12.7m, according to ONS

Pictured: tourism minister Michael Ellis

There were a record 12.7 million overseas visits to English regions outside London in the first nine months of 2017, up 4 per cent on the same period in 2016, according to the Office for National Statistics.

International visitors spent £6.1 billion across England’s regions during this period.

There were also 909,000 overseas visits to Wales from January to September last year, up 6 per cent compared to the same time in 2016, and visitors spent £337m.

In Scotland, overseas visits increased 14 per cent to 2.6m in the first nine months of 2017 compared to the same time in 2016, with overseas visitors spending £1.8bn.

Tourism minister Michael Ellis said: "It is fantastic news that towns and cities across the UK are benefitting from the boom in tourism, and as the new tourism minister I want to ensure that this trend continues.

"Promoting the UK as a must visit destination to the rest of the world is paramount in ensuring that local areas can reap the benefits of tourism and I am committed to working with the sector to drive economic growth across the UK."

VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said: “Boosting inbound tourism throughout Britain is at the heart of our work, so it is very encouraging to see the growth across our nations and regions. Tourism is one of our most valuable export industries and we are forecasting that growth will continue in 2018, with 41.7 million overseas visits to the UK and visitors spending almost £27 billion."

Of the English regions, the North West and the West Midlands had the largest percentage growth in overseas visits, both up 10 per cent compared to January to September 2016 to 2.4m and 1.8m respectively.

Overall, there were a record 30.1m inbound visits to the UK from January to September 2017, up 7 per cent on the same period the previous year.

There were a record 268,000 visits to the UK from China from January to September last year, up 33 per cent and spending up 48 per cent to a record £557m.

Record spend was seen from visitors from Germany who spent £1.3bn in the UK, up 5 per cent on January to September 2016 with visits up 2 per cent to 2.6m. There were a record 1.9m overseas visits from Spain to the UK, up 11 per cent, and visitor spending up 14 per cent to £861m.

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