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Overseas visits to the UK increased by 3 per cent in 2011 compared with 2010, according to provisional figures published today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The data, from the International Passenger Survey, shows the total number of visits during 2011 reached over 30 million, with a record number of holiday visits. Business travel also grew, for the second year running.
The rise in visits brought an estimated 5 per cent increase in earnings associated with travel and tourism, which reached a record £17.8 billion.
Visits from North America were up 5 per cent while those from Europe were up 1 per cent. Visits from other countries were up 9 per cent.
The figures suggest that visits by UK residents abroad have stabilised, following falls in 2009 and 2010.
Total visits grew by 1 per cent, with those to Europe increasing by 3 per cent. However, visits to North America and other countries declined.
The largest increase was seen in visits to friends or relatives abroad, which rose by 5 per cent, while numbers of holidays remained stable. However, overall spending by UK residents on trips abroad decreased by 2 per cent.
These provisional figures are subject to revisions and more detailed analysis before final data are published in July.
For more details, see the Overseas Travel and Tourism statistical bulletin.
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News release produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).