Rise in overseas visitors to the UK
The UK welcomed an increased number of overseas visitors in the first six months of this year.
Foreign residents made 14.75 million trips to the UK in January to June 2012 - a 2% rise on the total for the first half of last year, the Office for National Statistics said.
The amount these overseas visitors spent during their visits in the first six months of this year reached more than £7.81 billion - a 2% increase on the January to June 2011 total.
The increase in numbers and spending for the half-year came despite a dip in numbers in June 2012, which saw 2.59 million overseas residents' visits compared with more than 2.85 million in June 2011.
Spending by overseas residents has been boosted by North American tourists who have made 5% more visits to the UK in the first six months of this year than in the January-June period last year.
UK residents made more visits abroad (6.08 million) in June this year than in June last year (5.60 million) but their total number of trips for the first half of this year is unchanged at 25.95 million.
Spending by UK residents during trips abroad rose in June this year, while total spending for January to June 2012 - at £14.34 billion - is 2% up on the first half of last year.
Today's figures are a welcome boost for UK tourism, with totals for the second half of the year likely to be swelled by the Olympics.
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