People 'spending less while abroad'
Britons are spending far less while on trips abroad despite favourable exchange rates.
Spending by UK residents while on overseas visits has dipped 16% in the first six months of 2014 compared with the same period last year, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has announced.
The spending figure, at £12.83 billion, fell despite the number of visits abroad taken by UK residents rising 4% to 27.14 million in the first half of this year.
During the first six months of 2014 the pound soared against a number of currencies, including the US dollar and the euro.
In contrast, January-June 2014 spending by foreign residents during trips to the UK, at £8.92 billion, is on a par with last year's half-year figure, which led to the 2013 year-end total exceeding £20 billion for the first time.
After a dip in spending by overseas visitors during trips to the UK in March, April and May this year, spending in June 2014 reached £1.97 billion - an improvement on the June 2013 total of £1.89 billion.
The first six months of 2014 have seen overseas residents making 16.41 million trips to the UK - an 8% rise on the January-June 2013 total.
David Edwards, head of research and forecasting at VisitBritain, said: "Tourism is an essential part of the wider success of our economy and these first six months have set us up for what could be another record year for inbound tourism.
"It's also hugely positive to see growth both from our high-volume European markets and also emerging markets across Asia and Latin America."
Tourism minister Helen Grant said: "It's fantastic that Britain's tourism industry is performing so strongly with a record number of visits for 2014 so far and highest-ever spend for June.
"It shows the Government's tourism strategy is working - creating more jobs, encouraging greater spend and growing the economy."