UK

UK tourist numbers and spending set new record in 2014

File photo dated 20/10/2014 of tourists taking a photograph outside Buckingham Palace Image copyright PA
Image caption Tourists made 34.8 million visits to the UK in 2014 and spent £21.73bn

The number of tourists visiting the UK and the amount they spend reached record levels in 2014, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

Non-Britons made 34.8 million visits to the UK last year, an increase of 6% on the 32.8 million visits made in 2013.

They spent £21.73bn, 3% higher than 2013 and 21% higher than 2011.

Tourism Minister Helen Grant said she was delighted tourists were visiting in "record numbers".

The number of trips to the UK taken by North American visitors last year rose 4% to 3.69 million, while visits by Europeans increased 7% to 25.83 million.

'Tremendous news'

VisitBritain chief executive Sally Balcombe said the country had achieved its second consecutive annual record and further growth was expected.

"Tourism is increasingly becoming an essential part of the wider success of our economy," she said.

Immigration and Security Minister James Brokenshire said the figures were "tremendous news" for the UK.

He said: "Britain is open for business and I am delighted to see people from all around the globe coming to the UK to see our historic sites and sample our vibrant culture.

"This shows that our reforms are building an immigration system which works in the national interest - by clamping down on those who want to cheat the rules while ensuring our doors remain open to leisure and business visitors from around the world."

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