Wales welcomed 12% increase in overseas visitors in 2016

EPIC sign on the mountains Image copyright Welsh Government

Wales welcomed a "substantial increase" in overseas visitors last year.

The International Passenger Survey, published by the Office for National Statistics, showed Wales received 856,000 overseas visitors in the first nine months of 2016.

This represented a 12% rise compared to the same period in 2015 and the highest increase among the UK nations.

Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure Ken Skates said it was "fantastic news for Wales".

Wales also recorded a 9% increase in expenditure compared to 2015.

Image caption Portmeirion is a popular tourist village in Gwynedd

Mr Skates said the tourism industry and Visit Wales were to be congratulated for the "high quality products, sustained investment, innovation and welcome" which "make Wales such an attractive place to visit".

"The Year of Adventure in 2016 provided focus for marketing and product development which gave people compelling reasons to visit Wales," he said.

Mr Skates added that Wales' profile had been boosted during the Euro 2016 football championship and would be raised further when Cardiff hosts the Uefa Champions League Final in June.

North Wales has also been listed as one of the top 10 places to visit in the world during 2017 by the travel guide Lonely Planet.

This year marks The Year of Legends.

Image copyright Welsh Government

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