Weather boosts tourism

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The Independent Online
Scorching summer heat helped lure a record 2.87m overseas tourists to Britain in August - the highest total for any month, it was announcedyesterday.

The big increase means 1995 is set to be a record year for foreign visitors.

The August visitors spent a record for the month of pounds 1.46bn - compared with pounds 1.43bn in August 1994, according to figures from the Central Statistical Office.

The August influx means that more than 15.72m overseas tourists visited Britain and its attractions in the first eight months of the year - 11 per cent more than in the same period last year.

The figures indicate that the record annual total of 21m, set last year, should be comfortably overtaken.

Foreign tourists have spent pounds 7.52bn so far this year - 12 per cent more than in the January-August period last year.

Virginia Bottomley, the Secretary of State for National Heritage, whose department takes overall responsibility for overseeing and developing the lucrative tourist industry, said: "These figures are hard evidence of our success in attracting visitors and the boost to the economy and potential for more jobs.

"Our culture and heritage have long brought visitors to the UK. Now there are new factors, such as the end of the global recession and advantageous exchange rates. We must make full use of them."

The Confederation of British Industry would debate tourism at its annual conference for the first time on November 14, she said, adding that she would tell the conference she wanted to discuss how the Government could help tourism and other businesses take full advantage of the potential for growth.