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Latest figures reveal the highest number of visits to the country since 1961, with Gloucester also reaping the benefits

By Maryam_Qaiser  |  Posted: May 10, 2014

The Tall Ships Festival at the Gloucester Docks saw more than 100,000 visitors come to the city last year for the event

The Tall Ships Festival at the Gloucester Docks saw more than 100,000 visitors come to the city last year for the event

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IT seems the city’s rich history and heritage are one of the top reasons visitors flock to Gloucester every year, according to top chiefs at Marketing Gloucester.

Figures from The Office for National Statistics show an increase in the number of overseas visitors to the country since the International Passenger Survey began in 1961.

Overseas residents made 5.36 per cent more visits to the UK last year compared with 2012, leading to an historical high of 32,813,000 visits.

A spokesman from Marketing Gloucester said: “The Olympics was a great showcase for the country in 2012 and undoubtedly many overseas visitors were attracted here as a result.

“In Gloucester, the history and heritage are a huge draw for international visitors and the Cathedral and Historic Docks are both jewels in the city’s crown.

“From speaking to local hotels and attractions there has been a marked increase in the number of overseas tourists visiting the area, which is great for the local economy.”

Big name celebrities are being hailed as the reason Quays owners The Peel Group have attracted record visitors to their events over the last year.

Last year it was reported that its events strategy has drawn in 1.5 million visitors nationally, with Gloucester staging a hugely popular Tall Ships Festival and Food Festival this year.

Celebrity chefs Gino D’Acampo, Mary Berry and James Martin were the focus for the food event, a strategy that has won similar success elsewhere such as the Trafford Centre in Manchester.

National statistics show earnings from visits to the UK rose by £2.4 billion compared to 2012 to reach a record level of spending in the UK of £21 billion.

The number of nights spent in the UK also grew 6.6 per cent in 2013 to a total of 245.3 million overnight stays.

Visits from North America continued to show a decline, 0.3 per cent down on 2012, however spending from the region increased by 2.9 per cent.

Visits from Europe and 'Other Countries' showed increases of 5.7 per cent and 9.3 per cent respectively and spending from these regions also grew by 10.5 per cent and 21.6 per cent.

Holidays remain the main reason for visits to the UK accounting for 12.7 million visits, a rise of 6.4 per cent on 2012. Business visits and visits to friends and family continued to show growth, up 7.0per cent and 4.2 per cent respectively.

Overseas residents made 16.8 million overnight visits to London in 2013, an increase of 1.3 million from 2012, and spent an estimated £11.3 billion on visits to the Capital.

Overnight visits to the rest of England grew by 6.1 per cent to 13.6 million while visits to Scotland and Wales both showed increases after falls in 2012, Scottish visits up 9.8 per cent and Welsh 3.5 per cent.

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