Record-breaking first quarter for inbound visits to Britain

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The first three months of the year have set a new record for inbound visits to the UK, according to new data released today. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures show visits from January to March were up 6% on the same period last year to 7.36 million, with visitor spending at 3.64bn. Strong growth was seen in particular from EU countries with 5.27 million visits up 7% on the first three months of 2015 and setting a record first quarter.

Visits from North America, one of the UK s most valuable inbound markets, were also up 7% compared with the same period last year. In March alone, visits were up 12%. Tourism Minister David Evennett said: Our tourism industry is booming as our world-class attractions, heritage and culture make Britain the first choice destination for many, with visitor numbers at an all-time high.

Tourism is making a massive contribution to our economy and we want to keep up this momentum, encouraging more people to come and enjoy the very best of Britain for themselves.

Patricia Yates, director of VisitBritain, added the figures are a demonstration of the growing importance of inbound tourism to the UK economy.

The figures come after 2015 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 22.1bn.

Comparing growth during the last five years shows that there were six million more visits in 2015 than 2010, an increase of more than 20%.

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