More tourists than ever visit West Midlands
More international tourists are visiting the West Midlands than ever before, according to new figures.
Official statistics released show that in the first nine months of 2017 there were a record 12.7 million visits to English regions outside London, up four per cent compared to the same period in 2016.
In the West Midlands, overseas visits increased 10 per cent to 1.8 million in the first nine months of 2017 compared to the same time in 2016 – the joint largest percentage growth alongside the North West.
International visitors spent £6.1 billion across England’s regions during this period.
Tourism Minister Michael Ellis said: "It is fantastic news that towns and cities across the UK are benefitting from the boom in tourism, and as the new Tourism Minister I want to ensure that this trend continues.
"Promoting the UK as a must visit destination to the rest of the world is paramount in ensuring that local areas can reap the benefits of tourism and I am committed to working with the sector to drive economic growth across the UK."
VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said: “Boosting inbound tourism throughout Britain is at the heart of our work, so it is very encouraging to see the growth across our nations and regions.
"Tourism is one of our most valuable export industries and we are forecasting that growth will continue in 2018, with 41.7 million overseas visits to the UK and visitors spending almost £27 billion."
Overall, there were a record 30.1 million inbound visits to the UK from January to September, up seven per cent on the same period the previous year.
There were a record 268,000 visits to the UK from China from January to September last year, up 33 per cent and spending up 48 per cent to a record £557 million.
Record spend was seen from visitors from Germany who spent £1.3 billion in the UK, up five per cent on January to September 2016 with visits up two per cent to 2.6 million.
There were a record 1.9 million overseas visits from Spain to the UK, up 11 per cent, and visitor spending up 14 per cent to £861 million.
VisitBritain is forecasting that growth from inbound tourism is set to continue in 2018 with 41.7 million overseas visits to the UK, up 4.4 per cent on 2017.
Spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach £26.9 billion in 2018, up 6.8 per cent on 2017.
Tourism is worth £127 billion to the UK economy, creating jobs and boosting economic growth across its nations and regions.