Inbound tourism to Britain for 2014 is set to break all previous records, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics.
The first seven months of the year have seen 7% more visits than during the same period in 2013, hitting a new record of 19.8 million trips overall. This equalled a spend of over £11b, according to the newly published ONS's International Passenger Survey.
The month of July saw a record 1.6 million incoming holiday visits. Similarly, from January to July, the number of inbound trips from the rest of the world markets (outside of Europe and North America), reached 2.49 million, a 1% increase on last year, and also a new record.
British tourist board VisitBritain said that the figures pointed to an increase in confidence from Europe, with visits from the European Union countries up by 8% for July.
Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communications for VisitBritain, said that the figures underlined Britain's position of strength, and highlighted the key role that holiday visits had played against the backdrop of tourism being Britain's fifth largest - and still-growing - industry.
Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays Bank, added:"Visitors from overseas just can't get enough of the UK as tourist numbers continue to rise, with visits to its world class attractions made all the more attractive by July's spell of fine weather."
He also added that confidence in the economy was on the up, as demonstrated in the growing number of UK holidaymakers heading overseas. This was particularly the case in Europe, he said, thanks to the strength of the pound against the euro over the past few months.