The United Kingdom in January set a record for the number of international visits, new figures show.
According to the Office for National Statistics, the number of visitors to the United Kingdom was up 6 percent over a year ago. Officials were particularly pleased given the increase came during a traditionally slower month for tourism compared to the summer months.
The United Kingdom logged more than 2.5 million visits in January. Visitors spent £1.28 billion — roughly $1.8 billion — during the month, officials said.
“These record-breaking figures highlight the increasing year-round importance of inbound tourism to the UK economy,” VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said in a news release. “Tourism remains one of our fastest growing export industries but also one of the most globally competitive which is why we continue to showcase, through our international marketing campaigns, just why Britain should top people’s list as a must-go now destination.”
Great Britain last year set a record for inbound tourism, logging 35.8 million visits. That was a 4 percent increase from 2014.
Tourism is Britain’s seventh largest export industry and third largest service sector, officials said. In 2015, the United Kingdom reported six million more visits than 2010, officials said.
Inbound tourism is worth more than £26 billion to the UK economy. For every 22 additional Chinese visitors that come to Britain create an additional job in the sector, according to tourism officials.