Latest figures from the ONS International Passenger Survey show a 4% rise in the number of May visits and a 5% increase in spend following a 2% rise in the first five months with a striking double digit 10% spike in cash generated.
The positive results mean that the £6.88 billion generated in the first five months of 2013 is an all-time record. The month of May also saw a record number of visits with 3.08 million tourists enjoying Britain, beating the previous best held since 2008. These visitors spent £1.67bn.
The best start to a year since 2008 has also seen a record high for holiday visitors with 1.35 million holidaying in May, 7% higher than 2012. The increasingly important business travel market continues to grow, 4% up, showing signs that confidence is well and truly being restored in a sector which brings high spending visitors for short stays.
The IPS figures point toward record levels of visits continuing from ‘Rest of World’ markets (those outside Europe / North America), with visits 10% higher in May alone and 9% higher in 2013 so far. From Europe, May saw slight growth from the high volume EU15 markets, +2% and a considerable leap in visits from the smaller A12 ‘Accession’ markets.
Although spend continues to increase from North American markets we still see a decline in visitors with the first five months of 2013 being 3% lower than in 2012.
VisitBritain’s 2013 full year forecast suggests the volume of inbound visits will increase by 3% and the value of visits by 4.5%. Available data so far shows an increase in the volume of visits by 2% and in the value of by 10% from January to May 2013.
Patricia Yates, VisitBritain Director of Strategy and Communications said: “The Olympic bounce has well and truly sprung with the best start to a year since 2008. This has seen us achieve record breaking spend figures for 2013 to date and record visitor numbers for May and is proof that tourism continues to deliver the economic legacy of hosting the Games last year.
“We are surpassing our spend forecast for 2013, which is testament to the fact that our GREAT campaign has capitalised on the showcasing of Britain through 2012 to turn viewers into visitors. Our marketing and promotion of Britain as a great place to visit will ensure we are well positioned to deliver continued growth through 2013 and beyond, achieving positive results for the UK tourism industry and increasing the 2.6 million jobs supported by the sector.”
For more information contact:
VisitBritain Media Teampressandpr@visitbritain.com