UK tourists spent £5.8 billion on visits overseas in September, latest official statistics reveal.

The total was up by 10% on the same month last year as an estimated 7.8 million headed abroad – a rise of 2%.

The peak July to September summer period saw visits abroad edge up by 1% to 24.4 million over the same quarter in 2018, according to the Office for National Statistics.

However, spending by UK residents on overseas trips in the period rose by 7% to £17.6 billion.

There were 2.9 million visits to countries outside North America and Europe over this three-month period, an increase of 3%.

But trips to North America fell by 3% to 1.2 million visits while visits to European countries “remained similar” to the previous year at 20.2 million.

The number of holiday visits increased by 1% to 17.3 million, business trips fell by 9% to 1.4 million, while travel to friends and relatives decreased by 1% to 5.2 million.

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