International visits to Britain for the first nine months of 2015 have broken previous records, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
The data showed 27.1 million visits to Britain between January to September this year – a 3% increase compared with the same period in 2014.
Spending by international visitors in September was £2.2bn – equalling last year’s record spend for the same month – while overall spending for the first nine months of the year stood at £16.5bn.
Figures were boosted by a record number of visitors from China, with the number of visits in the first six months of 2015 up 28% to 90,000 compared with the same period last year. This was a record first six months of the year.
Meanwhile, the number of US visitors increased by 3% during the same period, with a 2% growth in the amount spent.
The continued growth in international visits reflects findings from the 2015 Anholt-GfK Nations Brand Index (NBI) published earlier this week, which showed that global perceptions of Britain as a ‘welcoming place’ are improving.
Overall, the UK came 3rd out of 50 nations for its global ‘brand’ in this year’s NBI, which surveys more than 20,000 people across 20 countries. The UK has held this place for the five years running.
Director of VisitBritain, Patricia Yates, said: “It’s really great to see the continued growth in visitor numbers as well as the gains we’ve made in global perceptions of our brand.
“Promoting Britain’s countryside, culture and ‘welcome’ around the world have been a focus for VisitBritain so it’s really positive to see the big improvements in these areas.”