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Britain on course for £20bn international spend for the first time

New results suggest that Britain needs just £700 million of tourist spend in December 2013 to hit a yearly figure of £20bn - a sum never before reached in a calendar year. Considering Britain has seen an average December spend of £1.3 billion over the last five years, this is highly likely.

In figures released this morning by the Office of National Statistics, counting the 11 months from January to November 2013, we have already seen full year, 12 month records broken for:
• Spend (£19.3 billion v £18.6 billion in 2012)
• Holiday visits (12.02 million v 12.01 million in 2011)
• Rest of World visits (4.86 million v 4.74 million in 2012)

November itself saw an 11% increase in spend (in nominal terms) compared to November 2012, and over the first 11 months of 2013, £19.3 billion has been spent by overseas visitors - some 12% more than in the same period in 2012. Already 4% more has been spent in the first 11 months of 2013 than seen previously in any full calendar year (across the full year of 2012 £18.64 billion was spent).

Across 2013, up until November, both business visits and visits to friends and relatives have been at their highest levels since 2008, up 5% and 4% respectively on the same period in 2012. Total visits in the 11 months of 2013 are 5% up, at 30.2 million.

‘Rest of World’ visits (outside Europe and North America) in November were consistent with last year, but following seven consecutive record months already there have been more visits in the first 11 months of 2013 (4.86 million) than in the whole of 2012 (4.74 million).

Sandie Dawe, Chief Executive of VisitBritain, comments on the results: “For 2013 to be the best year in inbound history, we’d need to see a record December for visits too, but it’s a certainty we’ll see record levels for spend.

“The first 11 months of 2013 have already seen the highest ever international spend in Britain, which proves that our GREAT campaign is turning spectators into visitors. These visitors are clearly happy to spend their money across the whole of the country and VisitBritain’s partner marketing activity has enabled them to do this by offering good value deals - inspiring travel to Britain in record numbers.”  

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