TOURISM to the United Kingdom is forecast to break through the 40 million mark for the first time in 2018, according to Visit Britain, which promotes the UK internationally.
Figures suggest next year that 41.7 million will touch down in the UK, up 4.4% on 2017 which is expected to see 39.9 million visits.
There have been 3.8 million visits from North America from January to September this year, up 14% on 2016. Inbound visits from EU countries, the UK’s largest visit-generating region, hit a record 19.6 million visits from January to September, 4% up on last year.
Spending by overseas visitors to the UK is forecast to reach £26.9 billion in 2018.
“Tourism is one of the UK’s most valuable export industries. It is also a fiercely competitive global industry and these results not only demonstrate Britain’s continued ability to compete internationally for visitors, they are testament to tourism’s importance as a driver of economic growth,” said VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates.
The UK was ranked third for tourism globally in the 2017 Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index (NBI) published last month, equalling its highest rank ever and up two places from last year.
“We are working with partners across the world to tell customers of experiences they can only have in Britain and encourage them to book a trip now. We have seen good growth this year from the US and China, and are developing new products that make it easier for overseas visitors to book and explore all of Britain,” Yates added.