OVERSEAS tourists spent a record £18.5bn during their visits to the UK in 2011, with more than a quarter going into the tills of high street shops and department stores.
Research released today by the UK’s main tourist body VisitBritain revealed that 18m foreign visitors spent £4.5bn in UK shops in 2011, up seven per cent year-on-year in nominal terms on 2010.
This is expected to have reached £4.7bn in 2012, a four per cent year-on-year rise.
Tourists from the Gulf spent the most at £442 per head, followed by Nigeria (£432) and China (£405) but the US was the largest market, with visitors spending £591m overall.
The French were most numerous at two million followed by 1.63m Germans and 1.63m Americans.
The majority of the shopping spend was on clothes, with an estimated £2.3bn generated by fashion-conscious foreign tourists. Souvenirs, gifts and household goods, accounted for around £1.6bn.