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Boost for Cameron as regional tourism stats show steady growth

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David Cameron’s dream of driving more international visitors to England’s regional tourism destinations is starting to become a reality, according to the latest figures from VisitBritain.

Initiatives to entice visitors to the UK beyond London have been a key focus for Cameron, who last year announced a five-point plan to boost regional tourism. This included the creation of an inter-ministerial group to co-ordinate government efforts in ensuring the right infrastructure is in place to boost regional tourism.

The latest regional tourism statistics show more international tourists are travelling across English regions than ever before, with average spend on the increase as well.

In the first nine months of 2015, visits to English regions outside London were up 7 per cent on the same period in 2014 to 11.7 million visits, setting a new record. Spending by international visitors across the regions was up 4 per cent to £5.8bn compared to the same period in 2014.

The number of international visitors travelling to the North showed especially strong growth in the first nine months of 2015, with visits to the North East up 23 per cent compared to the same period in 2014, and up 12 per cent in the North West.

“We invested £10m in 2015 to boost tourism in the North and these figures show that it is already making a huge difference, bringing more visitors to the area,” said interim tourism minister David Evennett.

“A booming tourism industry supports local economies, brings job growth to the regions and helps cement their reputation as must-visit destinations.”

Meanwhile, the number of international visitors travelling to the rest of England for business, and the amount they spent, rose 14 per cent to 3m visits and £1.4m in the first nine months of 2015.

Those visiting friends and relatives, and the amount they spent increased by 8 per cent, to 4.4m visits and £1.8m spent compared to the same period in 2014. The number of holiday visits was on a par with the first nine months of 2014 at 3.2m.

VisitBritain director Patricia Yates added: “Inbound tourism is one of our fastest growing export industries and with five years of consecutive growth in visitor numbers and record-breaking figures for 2015, it is really encouraging to see that this growth is being spread across so many of our regions.”

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David Cameron’s dream of driving more international visitors to England’s regional tourism destinations is starting to become a reality, according to the latest figures from VisitBritain.
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