The annual report and accounts for the British Tourist Authority, the non-departmental public body that trades as VisitBritain and VisitEngland, reveals there were 8.9 million business visits to Britain in 2015, up 7% on the previous year.
This was the sixth year of growth for business travel but the performance remains below that achieved pre-recession.
Across all sectors, there was a total of 36.1m visits from overseas in 2015, up 5% on the year before. These visitors spent a record-equalling £22.1 billion. The report outlines an ambition to grow international visitors to 40m by 2020, bringing a spend of £31.5bn.
While international visits to London, the rest of England and Wales grew, visits to Scotland fell 4% in 2015 with spending down 8%.
Growth came from a range of markets, with record visitor numbers from the EU15 region, China, India, Brazil and the United Arab Emirates. The volume of US visits rose 10% to 3,266,000, the highest level since 2007.
However, there were falls in visits numbers for countries including Australia and Japan. Visits from Russia decreased 34%.
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