Improving numbers of holiday visits to the UK bolstered international visitor numbers for September, with the International Passenger Survey (IPS) showing 2.53 million arrivals.
Holiday visits hit 970,000 for the month, helping 2011 to remain on track to exceed 2012 figures.
Visitor spending was up by 7% on the low of September 2010, to reach a total of £1.5b. Overall spend per visit was up 4% on the previous year, resulting in record earnings across the country of £13.2b so far in 2011.
Tourism chiefs predicted that the numbers could improve even further following a Government announcement this month that VisitBritain would receive an extra £27m for a brand building campaign in key overseas markets.
Sandie Dawe, chief executive of VisitBritain, said: "Tourism is the fifth largest industry in the UK and is Britain's third-largest earner of foreign exchange. VisitBritain believes tourism has the potential to be one of the five fastest-growing sectors of the UK economy in the years ahead."
Notes for table
EU15 Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and UK
A12 Bulgaria, Cyprus (South of), Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia
Rest of Europe European countries outside the European Union (includes Russia)
VFR Visiting friends & relatives
Miscellaneous Includes short-term study visits
By Neil Gerrard
E-mail your comments to Neil Gerrard here.
If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to www.catererandhotelkeeper.com/tabletalk
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with Catererandhotelkeeper.com jobs
Blogs on Catererandhotelkeeper.com
Catch up with more news and gossip on all Caterer's blogs
For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our E-newsletters