International visitors spent a record £1.5b across Britain in February 2014 representing a 45% increase on February last year, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Despite traditionally being one of the quieter months, visits in February were also up 9%. Holiday visits recorded double digit growth (25%), while visits from friends and relatives and business trips also performed beyond expectations.
Visits and nominal spend for the three months to February were up 5% and 21% respectively, year-on-year.
Sandie Dawe, chief executive of VisitBritain said that the strong results prove that that tourism has a key role to play in the wider success of the British economy.
"Inbound tourism continues to be the fastest growing sector of the industry, with spend by international visitors forecast to grow 6% a year across the rest of this decade.
"Tourism may not be a tangible product, but it's a major export earner for this country which VisitBritain sells overseas. Last year earnings topped a record £21b, which is more than crude oil and cars. And tourism is a major job creator for Britain - for every 18 Chinese visitors who come to Britain an additional job is created in tourism."
Helen Grant, minister for tourism, added: "These record figures for February show just how well our tourism strategy is working and the valuable contribution the sector is making to economic growth. I am delighted that more people are coming to enjoy the best of Britain and spending their cash. I will continue to work closely with the tourism sector to keep this momentum up."
Mike Saul, head of hospitality and leisure at Barclays said the ongoing rise in overseas visitors is testament to the enduring appeal of the UK as a leading tourist destination.
"The sector continues to gather strength supported by generally favourable macro-economic conditions and by the contribution of overseas trade bodies."