In 2013 spending passed £20bn for the first time, while the 2014 total is likely to be around £21.3bn. The upward trend is expected to continue with the 2015 total likely to reach £22.2bn, according to forecasts by VisitBritain announced yesterday by Culture Secretary Sajid Javid.
As well as spending rising, the number of visits by people from overseas is expected to increase, with 35.1 million trips expected in 2015, up 2.5 per cent on 2014 and compared with 29.8 million in 2010.
Mr Javid said: “The tourism sector is driving economic growth for Britain. The Olympic Games and Diamond Jubilee gave us a great platform to showcase the best of Britain but we didn’t stop there and have kept up the momentum in the last two years.
“Britain has so much to offer tourists with our stunning countryside, great heritage and world-class sport and culture. Working closely with the tourism industry we will continue to champion the UK abroad as part of our long-term economic plan.”
Earlier this year figures from VisitBritain showed Yorkshire welcomed 168,000 overseas visitors during July, August and September 2013 - an increase of 37.7 per cent. They spent a total of £68m in the region over the period - a new summer record and an increase of 13 per cent compared to 2012.
Overall, York was the most visited city in Yorkshire but the region’s historic sites and countryside was proved a huge draw. The Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors and part of the Peak District - were visited by a quarter of those holidaying only in Yorkshire.
According to the nationwide tourism figures released growth from Chinese tourists has been particularly strong in the last four years and tourism bosses have recently unveiled plans to try to attract more Chinese visitors to Yorkshire and the UK.