By Daniel Hunter

Office for National Statistics figures reveal UK tourism sector is seeing record levels of spend and visitor numbers since 2008.

A year after Britain hosted the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and celebrated the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, inbound tourism continues to prove it is one of the UK’s key export growth markets.

The latest figures from the International Passenger Survey point towards the first half of 2013 seeing record levels in spend and the strongest visitor numbers since 2008.

The positive results confirmed that in the first half of 2013 Britain attracted 15.2 million visitors (+4%). Spend across this period was a record £8.7 billion (+11%).

Over 2.89 million overseas visitors were welcomed in June alone, up 12% compared with last June. Expenditure over the same period saw overseas visitors spend a total of £1.84 billion, an increase of 13% from June 2012. This was also a new high, up 8% on the existing June record set in 2011.

Tourism Minister Hugh Robertson said: "These record figures for June show that our tourism strategy is working. We did all we can to showcase the best of Britain to the world in 2012 and it’s paying off. The tourism sector has a big role to play in delivering economic growth and we must keep up this momentum and continue to promote Britain as a great place to visit."

Overseas Director at VisitBritain, Keith Beecham, said: "This is the second consecutive month we have seen record visits and spend, while the first six months of the year have also delivered a record. In June the UK welcomed more than a visitor every single second (67 overseas visitors a minute). If this trend continues it would see us welcome one overseas visitor every second of every day of every week of every month of the year. This is great news for the economy and a further sign that tourism is delivering growth across the country."

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