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Big increase in number of visitors to the UK amid weaker pound

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There’s been an increase in the number of visitors to the UK amid a much weaker value of the pound since the Brexit referendum vote last year.

The estimated number of visits to the UK by overseas residents in June 2017 was 3.5 million, up an 7% compared with June 2016, according to the ONS. Overseas residents spent £2.2 billion in the UK in June, 2% more than in the same month last year.

In the April to June 2017 period there were a total of 10.8 million visits to the UK, an 8% increase over the corresponding period in 2016.

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A weak pound has made Britain a more affordable holiday destination for visitors.

There was a significant increase in in visitors from North America, up from 483,000 in June of last year to 650,000 this year (a 35% rise), which was “clearly buoyed by the particularly sharp drop of the pound against the dollar since mid-2016,” according to Howard Archer, chief economic adviser to the EY Item Club.

The number of visitors from Europe rose 2% up to 2.290m from 2.241m.

Overseas residents have been spending more in the UK too. They spent £2.2 billion on their visits to the UK in June 2017, up 2% compared to June last year.

VisitBritain director Patricia Yates was quoted by the BBC as saying: “Tourism is one of Britain’s most valuable export industries and this continued growth demonstrates the industry’s increasing importance as a key driver of economic growth across our nations and regions.”

UK residents

UK residents made a total of 7.2 million visits abroad in June 2017, a 4% increase compared with June 2016, and spent £4.6 billion on their visits abroad – up 15%.

During the period April to June 2017, UK residents made 1% more visits abroad compared with the corresponding period a year earlier, and they spent 2% more on these visits.