Britain draws “record-breaking” number of tourists

The UK tourism industry is “booming”, with the island expecting to see nearly 40 million overseas visitors by the end of this year.

VisitBritain – the tourism body in charge of attracting tourists to the UK – estimated that overseas trips to the UK will increase by six per cent to 39.7 million with spending up 14 per cent to £25.7 billion in 2017.

British Tourist Authority chairman Steve Ridgway added that the sector is now worth some £127 billion.

“Two-and-a-half times bigger than the automotive industry, employing three million, tourism is one of our most successful exports and needs no trade deals to compete globally,” said Mr Ridgway, adding that the sector creates jobs right across Britain.

The slump in the value of the pound – down 20 per cent against most major currencies – is believed to be a major contributing factor.

The UK saw a surge in tourists travelling from Europe and non-Europe countries between June and July, up 240,000 and 270,000 respectively.

Britons also holidayed at home in record numbers. Domestic overnight holidays in England rose seven per cent to 20.4 million, while those who travelled abroad spent two per cent less compared to the year previous.

UK Minister for Tourism, John Glen, said: “Tourism contributes billions to the UK economy, supports millions of jobs and is the lifeblood for many communities across the country.

“We have seen record-breaking inbound visits and spend this summer, which is testament to our world-class attractions and the innovation of our tourism industry.”