Sunday, 29 May 2016

They counted them out … and in

Brits making more visits abroad

BRITS made 65.7 million visits abroad in 2015, up 9.4% on 2014, according to figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). They also spent more – a total of £3.5 billion, up by 9.8% up on the previous year without adjusting for inflation.

The number of nights spent abroad also increased, by 10.7% to 682.4 million nights.

Spain continued to be the most popular overseas destination for UK residents, accounting for 13 million visits, a 6.1% rise and almost 20% of the total number of visits abroad.

Giles Horsfield, head researcher for the ONS International Passenger Survey, said: ‘Visits abroad by UK residents have continued to rise, but have not quite returned to pre-downturn levels.’

In-bound tourism figures were also positive. The number of visits by overseas residents rose by 5.1% to 36.1 million. This was the fifth consecutive year of growth and the highest number of visits since the International Passenger Survey began in 1961. Growth was particular strong from European Union states, with 5.27 million visits, up by 7% on the first three months of 2015 and setting a record first quarter.
Visits from North America were also up 7% compared to the same period last year.

Holidays remain the main reason for visits to the UK, accounting for 13.9 million visits, a rise of 2.1%. Business visits and visits to friends and family both showed growths of 7.1%.

A record 18.6 million overnight visits to London were made by overseas residents in 2015, an increase of 6.8% from 2014. Overnight visits to the rest of England grew by 6.9% to 15.2 million.

Visits to Wales rose by 4% in 2015, while those to Scotland fell by 4%.

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