By Daniel Hunter

Tourism spend in the last 12 months has reached a record-high, figures from the Office for National Statistics have revealed.

In the year to the end of March 2013, tourism spend reached £19.01 billion; a 5% increase year-on-year and the first time the £19 billion mark has been broken.

This data is part of the ONS International Passenger Survey which collects information on passengers entering and leaving the UK and reports monthly. For the month of March 2013 spend by overseas visitors was up 14% on March 2012.

“Last year the country was in the international spotlight and we are now beginning to see the positive impact it has had in terms of increased tourism spend. These latest figures are encouraging for the industry and I will continue to do all I can for the sector to keep this momentum going," Tourism Minister Hugh Robertson said.

In the 12 months to the end of March the number of overseas visits were up 1% to 31.2 million compared to the 12 months to the end of March 2012. In the first three months of 2013 visitor numbers are up 2% compared to January to March 2012.

Last month, Visit Britain launched its ambitious growth strategy for tourism. It aims to increase the number of annual overseas visitors to the UK to 40 million, spending £31.5 billion by 2020.

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