According to statics released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) foreign visitors including hundreds of thousands of Nigerians that have visited Britain in the first half of the year 2013 have added a record £8.7Bn (over two trillion Naira) to the British economy.
Nigerians, Chinese and visitors from the Middle-East are by far the biggest spenders in the United Kingdom with Nigerian visitors being the sixth biggest spenders in British shops.
According to a British government website, 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, which was a 4% increase over the same period last year. Spend across this period was a record £8.7 billion, an 11% increase compared to last year’s figures.
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”.
In reaction to these revelations, a Nigerian visitor to London remarked: “…and what sort of ‘thank you’ do we get from this ungrateful government…? A £3,000 visa bond.”