UK visitor numbers top 32 million

Overseas visitor numbers to the UK rose 7% year-on-year to 32 million in 2006, according to latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS). In terms of revenue, overseas visitors spent £15.4bn, up 8% on the previous year, the ONS says. Western Europeans were the most frequent visitors to the UK, making 21 million visits last year, which was a 7% increase on 2005. North Americans made 4.5 million visits, up 6% on the previous year. Visitors from the rest of the world made 7.1 million trips, a growth of 9%. “Despite the challenges Britain faced in 2006, this is a strong result and another step forward in achieving our ambition to raise the value of Britain’s £74 billion visitor economy,” said Visit Britain chief executive Tom Wright. “Our marketing activities have already generated an average return on investment over the last three years of £44 in inbound visitor spending for every £1 from the public purse, but government and the commercial sector must continue to make long-term investment if we are fully to realise the potential of the visitor economy.”

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