Paralympic Games 'boosted UK tourism and spending'

David Weir
Image caption London hosted the Paralympic Games from 29 August until 9 September

People coming to London to watch the Paralympic Games helped boost UK tourism numbers, figures show.

The number of trips made to the UK by foreign residents in September rose 1% on 2011 to 2.63 million, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Spending during these visits increased by 17% to more than £1.94bn, it added.

The ONS estimates that of 680,000 UK visits made during the Games, primarily for an Olympics or Paralympics-related purpose, 90,000 ended in September.

London hosted the Olympic Games from 27 July to 12 August while the Paralympics started on 29 August and ended on 9 September.

Holidays 'delayed'

The figures showed that visits by overseas residents to the UK during July, August and September fell 4% to 8.83 million, compared with the same period last year, but their spending rose 6% to £6.33bn.

The ONS said the figures for spending included any tickets bought for London 2012 regardless of when the tickets were bought.

VisitBritain said in July to September the average spending by people attending or involved in the Games was £1,350 - more than double all other visitors.

The tourism organisation's chief executive Sandie Dawe said: "These encouraging numbers mean that visitors are on track to spend more in the UK than we initially forecast - a good result for the economy.

"It's quite clear that Olympic visitors generally spent a lot more, often visiting for longer, as well as buying tickets for various events and staying in hotels."

According to the ONS, the number of visits to the UK by overseas residents in the first nine months of 2012 reached 23.53 million - about the same as in January-September last year.

Whereas spending by foreign visitors during their trips in the first nine months of the year rose 5% to more than £14.26bn.

The ONS research also showed a number of people in the UK may have delayed their summer holiday until the Games were over.

It said the number of trips taken overseas by UK residents in September rose 5% on 2011, to 6.49 million.

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