Healthy rise in overseas visitors boosts economy to tune of £90m

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Thousands of overseas visitors have flocked to Sheffield over the last 12 months – with spending by foreign tourists rocketing by nearly £90 million.

New figures released by the Office of National Statistics showed the city had 151,000 overseas visitors during 2013 – more than 20 per cent up on the 125,000 recorded in 2012.

And total spending by foreign visitors was put at 
£148 million last year compared to just £61 million in 2012 – a 120 per cent rise.

Of the 151,000 people who came to the city last year, about 45,000 were on business trips.

In 2012, there had been 30,000 overseas people visiting the city on business.

Helen Grant, tourism minister, said: “The number of overseas residents visiting the UK is at an all-time high and they’re spending more money than ever before too.

“This shows how strongly our tourism sector is performing, playing a vital role in the economy’s upturn.

“I am also encouraged at the increasing number of Chinese tourists that are visiting the UK – up almost 10 per cent year-on-year – given the hard work we have put in to target that market.

“Now it’s about keeping up the momentum and continuing to sell Britain hard as a great place to visit.”

There was further good news for the wider South Yorkshire region, with spending by overseas visitors increasing to £175 million from £89 million the year before as more than 250,000 people visited the region in 2013.

Nationally, Britain’s tourism industry enjoyed a record year, with visitor numbers and spending reaching an all-time high.

Overseas visitors spent £21.01 billion in the UK in 2013, up 12.7 per cent year-on-year.

There was a record 32.8 million visits from overseas residents, up by 5.6 per cent year-on-year. Strong growth was helped by an increasing number of Chinese visitors coming to the UK – up 9.7 per cent to 196,000 with spend up 63.8 per cent to £491.7 million.

The national figures also showed a strong increase in visitor numbers and spend from people travelling from India, Germany, Australia and South Korea, Malaysia and Mexico.