Overseas visitors to the UK reached a record high of 13.23 million during the first five months of the year, according to the latest International Passenger Survey figures released today by the Office of National Statistics.
The amount spent by overseas visitors during the first five months of 2014 stood at £6.95b - 1% lower in nominal terms than for the same period last year.
The number of holiday visits in May was up to 1.4 million, making it the fourth month out of the first five months of this year to achieve a record figure, while business visits grew by 6%. Visitors from France and Germany were up 4% year-on-year, with arrivals from outside of Europe and North America rising 13% and visitors from North American remaining unchanged.
Patricia Yates, director of strategy and communications at VisitBritain, predicted that 2014 is set to be another excellent year for inbound tourism to Britain.
"To have four months out of five reaching new records for holiday visits is a great achievement - and that's even before we hit the seasonal summer months. These results highlight Britain's strength as a year-round destination.
Helen Grant, minister for tourism, added: "It's great news that visitor numbers in the twelve months to May are at a record high. We still have some fantastic big events that will attract overseas visitors in the coming months such as the Commonwealth Games and Ryder Cup.
"The government is completely committed to doing all we can to help the tourism industry. Today we are hosting the first meeting of the Tourism Council to help further boost jobs and growth in this dynamic sector."