Christmas helped draw 15% more foreign tourists to holiday in the UK, a new study shows.

However, there was a two per cent decline in spending by visitors from overseas in December and a 10% decrease in the number of business travellers visiting the UK.

The growth in the number of outbound holidaymakers remained strong for the month, up 12% on the previous year, suggesting a slowdown in the UK staycation sector, according to the British Hospitality Association’s latest Travel Monitor

BHA chief executive, Ufi Ibrahim, said: “It is encouraging to see a year-on-year boost in inbound holiday visitors around the Christmas period but disappointing that overall spending in the UK was lower.

“With political and economic uncertainty increasing it is more important than ever to ensure UK tourism can compete.

“The UK continues to have on average twice the tourism VAT rate than that across Europe.

“Alongside businesses investing in the apprenticeship levy, rising business rates and the threat of online platforms such as Airbnb, this signals concern for businesses in the industry, four out of five of which are SMEs.”