Predicted visitor number increase 'underpinned by pattern of longer-term growth'

More people are expected to flock to the UK than ever before in 2018, according to the national tourism agency.

VisitBritain predicts there will be nearly 42 million visits over the next 12 months, with tourists to spend an estimated £27 billion.

Total visits for 2017 are on track to hit 39.9 million by the end of the year, with forecasts for 2018 predicting 41.7 million, a jump of 4.5%.

The latest official statistics show there were 30.2 million visits between January and September, up 7% on 2016, with tourists from EU countries accounting for around two-thirds of this number.

Additionally, visitor numbers from the US rose by around 14% in this period, thanks in part to the draw of the weakened pound following Brexit.

VisitBritain director Patricia Yates said: "These results not only demonstrate Britain's continued ability to compete internationally for visitors, they are testament to tourism's importance as a driver of economic growth.

"Britain continues to offer great value for overseas visitors, particularly from our high-spending long-haul markets including China and the US.

"The growth we have seen this year is underpinned by a pattern of longer-term growth, with tourism one of the UK's most valuable export industries."

Tourism is worth £127 billion to the UK economy, according to VisitBritain.

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