Overseas tourists flock to London

22 May 2013 09:32

London was the preferred destination of around half of all foreign visitors to the UK last year, official figures show

London was the preferred destination of around half of all foreign visitors to the UK last year, official figures show

Around half of all overseas visitors to Britain came to London last year, according to the latest official figures.

VisitBritain, the UK's national tourism agency, reveals foreign nationals made 31 million trips here in 2012, with 15.46 million of them choosing to visit the capital. Many of those will likely have arranged travel insurance before leaving home, to ensure peace of mind for their holiday.

The top five UK destinations were completed by Edinburgh (1.25 million), Manchester (932,000), Birmingham (713,000) and Liverpool (550,000).

The figures also show many smaller locations saw rising visitor numbers last year, with Bournemouth's 178,000 visits representing a 38% rise on its 2011 total. Ipswich and Penzance also recorded rises, with 41% and 69% yearly increases in overseas visitors respectively.

There was also a rise among tourists arriving from Brazil, Russia, India and China, collectively known as the BRIC countries. The data shows Scotland hosted 30% more visits from the four nations and Glasgow saw a 54% rise in BRIC travellers.

Patricia Yates, VisitBritain strategy and communications director, said it was good to see people from the strengthening BRIC markets were choosing to journey to Britain.

She added: "2012 has certainly helped change the world's perceptions of Britain, and there is real potential for us to attract 40 million international visitors a year by 2020, an achievement which will mean more visitors are travelling to London and beyond."

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