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Volume 455: debated on Tuesday 16 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the economic impact of the number of foreign tourists visiting the UK during the last 12 months; and if she will make a statement. (115801)

During the calendar year 2005 (the last full year for which consolidated figures are available from the Office for National Statistics’s International Passenger Survey), 30 million inbound visitors to the UK spent £14.2 billion in this country. Visitor numbers and spending for that year were up by 8 per cent. and 9 per cent. respectively, when compared to 2004.

The latest available estimates from the survey are for the three months to November 2006. During this time 7.9 million inbound visitors spent £3.9 billion—both figures being significant increases on the 2005 figures for the same quarter.

Since 2004, tourism’s share of the national economy has been expressed in Gross Value Added, using Tourism Satellite Accounting methodology. The latest available figures for tourism’s share of the total UK economy are for the calendar year 2003. For that year, domestic and inbound tourism receipts totalled £74.2 billion, which was 3.4 per cent. of the UK economy—of which, inbound tourism receipts at £11.9 billion represented 0.55 per cent.