People, Travel

UK Tourist Record in July

UK Tourist Record in JulyUK Tourist Record in July

The number of overseas visitors to the UK topped four million in July for the first time, official figures show.

Travelers to the UK spent £2.75 billion on their visits, the Office for National Statistics said, another record.

The figures also show the number of visits abroad by UK residents fell 2% from July last year to 6.9 million, with spending also down 2% to £4.5 billion, BBC reported.

The weakening of the pound since the Brexit vote has made the UK a cheaper destination for travelers from abroad.

However, Patricia Yates, from tourist promotion agency VisitBritain, said the pound was only a small part of the story.

"We know the weak pound helps, but it is not the motivator for first-time visitors—most people overseas do not know what the exchange rate is."

So far this year, the number of overseas visits to the UK has been up 8% on the same period of last year, with spending running at £13.3 billion.

The ONS says tourism is worth £127 billion annually to the UK economy. Tourists are mainly coming from Europe, North America, China, Australia, India and the Persian Gulf.

Yates said an improvement in airline capacity, particularly between the UK and China and the UK and North America, had helped encourage visitors.

"We have also been building a buzz with [online travel website] Expedia, trying to encourage interest in places they may not have considered before."

Tourism Minister John Glen said tourism is a major economic force that creates jobs and drives growth for the whole of the country.


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