Foreign visits to the UK creep up despite impact of Olympics

Ben Southwood
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THE UK enjoyed a slightly higher flow of tourists coming into the country in 2012, despite a fall in visits during the time of the Olympic and Paralympic games.

Total visits to the UK crept up one per cent to 31.1m in 2012, compared to 2011, according to figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) yesterday.

Total spend climbed a healthier four per cent to £18.7bn in the 12 month period, the ONS said.

But despite London hosting the world’s top sporting event, most of these extra visits came at the start and the end of the year, the ONS pointed out – the summer of sport actually saw a dip in visits.

However, visits abroad by Britons were flat at 56.6m, though British tourists spent £32.6bn, three per cent more than before.

Though spending in the UK grew at a faster rate than spending abroad, the total tourism trade deficit widened £0.1bn due to the huge existing spend by Brits.