Latest figures released by VisitBritain
show strong growth from markets including the US, Germany and the United Arab
Emirates (UAE) in the first quarter of 2016, underpinning the best ever first
quarter for total inbound visits.
The Office for National Statistics results
show that from January to March this year visits from the US, the UK’s most
valuable visitor market, grew by 9% to 542,000 compared to the same period last
year. Strong growth was also seen from EU countries with 5.4 million visits, a
10% increase on the first quarter of last year, and spend up 7% to £1.8
Germany and Spain showed double-digit
growth in visits and spend in the first quarter. Visits from Germany grew 24%
to 602,000 with spend up 26% to £222 million. A new record was set for the
number of inbound visits from Spain which grew by 12% to 548,000, with spend
also up 15% to £195 million.
Visits from the UAE were up 15% to 77,000,
the strongest first quarter on record, with spend also up 9% to £105 million,
while visits from China, the world’s largest outbound market, were on par with
last year’s record first quarter, putting the market on track for another good
year. Visits from Australia grew by 10% to 157,000 with spending increasing by
30% to £173 million.
VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said:
“It’s really encouraging to see strong growth in visits from some of our most
important markets and we now have the opportunity to build on this as Britain
is offering great value for inbound visitors.
“We are anticipating a strong summer holiday season as we spread this
message of value and continue our global #OMGB ‘Home of Amazing Moments’
marketing campaign to inspire visitors with the amazing experiences they can
only find in Britain and work with partners to offer great tactical deals to
drive bookings. It’s a great summer to come to Britain.”
Last year set a record for inbound tourism
to Britain on visits and spend with 36.1 million visits, 5% up on 2014, and
spending up 1% to £22.1 billion.