Tourism visits hit record high
The UK hosted a record number of visits by overseas residents last year, with foreign tourist spending during their trips also reaching an all-time annual high.
Overseas residents made 32.89 million visits to the UK in 2013 - a rise of 6% on the 2012 total and higher than the previous record of 32.78 million set in 2007.
The amount these foreign visitors spent last year rose 13% to a record £20.99 billion, figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed.
The visits included 12.78 million for holiday purposes - a 7% rise on the 2012 figure - while the number of business trips rose 7% to 7.93 million.
The ONS figures also showed that UK residents made 58.03 million visits abroad in 2013 - a rise of 3% on the 2012 total. The amount they spent on these trips overseas last year rose 7% to £34.67 billion.
Sandie Dawe, chief executive at VisitBritain, said: "Not only have we managed to surpass the £20 billion barrier for the very first time (for annual overseas visitor spending), but we've broken records for holidaymakers and visitors from key growth markets such as China and South Korea.
"Our international tourists are starting to see and do more across the country, which tells us that our GREAT (UK-promoting advertising) campaign is not only working, but influencing travel too. Holiday figures are up across the whole of Britain.
"Every pound invested in our tourism marketing results in visitors spending £19 in this country. The financial benefits from inbound tourism are clear for everyone to see."