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April tourism figures see return to growth in 2015

According to figures released today by the Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey, the UK welcomed 3.14 million visits in April, 6% more than in the same month last year.

Visits hit a new record for the first four months of a year: between January and April 2015 they exceeded 10 million for the very first time. After three months of decline in spend, we saw growth of 1% in April, with a total of £1.5 billion spent across Britain.

April was a strong month for all types of visit, with Business, Holiday and Visits to Friends & Relatives (VFR) seeing growth of 18%, 6% and 4% respectively. Holiday visits - VisitBritain’s top priority and the focus for most of its international marketing spend - hit a new record after a 6% jump compared to the previous year.

EU15 countries account for over half of all visits to Britain annually, making them the UK’s largest world region for visits. In April, for the first time, visits from EU15 countries exceeded 2 million during any one month.

Patricia Yates, Director of Strategy and Communications said: “In a highly competitive tourism environment, it’s very promising to see a considerable return to growth as we approach the peak summer months. We expect 2015 and 2016 to be more challenging for inbound tourism as the Euro weakens making it even more important to get our value message across to potential European visitors. We also need to act to safeguard our long haul markets such as the US and China who see European pricing as particularly attractive this summer.”

Source: Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey data

Last updated September 2015