UK gets fewer overseas visitors

The UK welcomed fewer overseas visitors in August this year despite the lure of the Olympics.

But those who did come spent more during their trips than those who visited in August 2011, figures from the Office for National Statistics showed.

Foreign residents took 3.03 million trips to the UK in August 2012 compared with 3.20 million in August last year. But their spending rose from £2.17 billion in August 2011 to £2.38bn in August this year.

Overall, the UK has hosted 20.9 million visits from overseas residents in the first eight months of this year - about the same as January-August 2011.

Spending during these trips - at £12.32bn -is up 3% compared with the first eight months of last year.

The figures also showed that UK residents took 7.26 million trips abroad in August this year compared with 7.34 million in August 2011. Spending by UK residents during these trips rose from £4.25bn in August 2011 to £4.5bn in August this year.

In the year so far, UK residents have spent £22.59bn during their trips abroad - a rise of 4% on the January-August 2011 total.

Tourism minister Hugh Robertson said: "This summer put the UK firmly in the global spotlight, allowing us to shape international perceptions and help deliver long-term trade and tourism benefits.

"The Olympics generated record tourist spend, up 9% on August last year, helping to boost the country's economy and giving us enormous confidence as we build on the fantastic showcase of this summer. And domestic tourism was also strong over the summer, with more than £760 million spent on Olympics-related day trips.

"We also know that some tourists may not have wanted to come during the Games themselves, which is why we have always focused on building a long-term tourism legacy from the Games."