Tourists from overseas made a record 26 million trips to the UK last year, 3% more than they did in 1996, thanks to a surge of interest from North America.
The amount they spent showed slightly smaller growth, climbing 2% to £12.7b.
In the final quarter, foreign visits soared by 5% to 5.95 million. Although the number of trips made in October was actually down year-on-year, increased levels of November and December trips more than compensated.
This was not the case for quarterly revenues, however, which fell by £9m to £2.88b. Increased levels of spending in both November and December were negated by a £46m drop in October.