Rise in visitors signals a good year for tourism

This year has started well for UK tourism, according to new figures for inbound visitors.

Overseas residents made 4.03 million visits to the UK in the first two months of 2012 – a seven per cent rise on the January-February 2011 figure, the Office for National Statistics said.

These foreign visitors spent £2.075bn during their trips in the first two months of this year – seven per cent more than in the same period last year.

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UK residents made more visits (3.3 million) abroad in February 2012 than in February 2011 (just under 3.2 million). But total visits abroad for the first two months of this year are down one per cent at 6.56 million.

Spending by UK residents during foreign trips has generally fallen in recent months but it did rise from just under £1.81bn in February 2011 to £1.86bn in February 2012.

This increase helped spending by UK residents during trips abroad in the first two months of this year to reach £3.78bn – about the same as in the January-February 2011 period.