LONDON: Visitor numbers to the UK increased by 1.5% to 10.7m in Q3 2016 compared with the same period a year ago, while the amount spent in the UK during these visits grew by 3% to £7.4bn, the latest industry estimates have shown.
According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), which based its findings on interviews with passengers at airports and ports, total visits from residents of North America and Europe increased by 10.5% and 0.7% respectively.
At the same time, the number of visits taken abroad by UK residents from July to September 2016 increased by 7.4% year-on-year to 24.1m.
Visits to Europe saw the largest increase (8.6%) to 20m, while visits to "other countries" also increased by 6.1%. However, visits to North America fell by 5.8% when compared with Q3 2015.
This activity took place despite the fall in the value of the pound in the three months since the UK's referendum decision in June to leave the European Union.
Overall, the number of nights spent abroad by UK residents rose by 5.1% and their spending during these visits increased by 10.2% to £15.9bn.
The official figures also showed that the whole country is benefitting from the growth in tourism. While overnight visits to London decreased by 0.8% to 5.2m during the quarter, those to the rest of England increased 3.2%.
Meanwhile, overnight visits to Scotland increased by 4.5% compared with the same period in 2015 while overnight visits to Wales rose by 8.6%.
The number of North Americans who visited Scotland increased significantly, leading Malcolm Roughead, the Chief Executive of VisitScotland, to attribute the growth to the weaker pound as well as effective marketing.
"Of course, a favourable exchange rate has played its part," he told the Courier. "But a focus on airline capacity and connectivity – with around 90,000 extra seats on services from North America in 2016 – alongside a concentrated marketing approach has proved a real formula for success."
Data sourced from ONS, the Courier; additional content by Warc staff