A record 12.7 million visits were made by foreign tourists to UK regions outside London in the first nine months of 2017, new figures show.

This represented a rise of 4% over the same period in 2016 and saw spending of £6.1 billion.

There were 909,000 overseas visits to Wales from January to September last year, up 6% year-on-year with spending of £337 million.

Overseas arrivals to Scotland visits grew by 14% to 2.6 million in the first nine months of 2017 with spend of £1.8 billion.

Of the English regions, the north-west and the West Midlands saw the largest percentage growth in overseas visits, both up 10% compared to January to September 2016, to 2.4 million and 1.8 million respectively.

Overall, there were a record 30.1 million inbound visits to the UK from January to September 2017, up 7% on the same period the previous year.

A record 268,000 visits were made to the UK from China, up 33% with spending rising by 48% to £557 million.

Record spend was also seen from visitors from Germany who spent £1.3 billion in the UK, up 5% with visits rising 2% to 2.6 million.

Visitors from Spain increased by 11% to 1.9 million with spending up 14% to £861 million in the nine month period.

VisitBritain forecasts that growth from inbound tourism is set to continue this year with 41.7 million overseas visits to the UK, up 4.4% on 2017.

Spending by overseas visitors is predicted to reach £26.9 billion, up 6.8% on 2017.

Newly appointed tourism minister Michael Ellis said: “It is fantastic news that towns and cities across the UK are benefitting from the boom in tourism, and as the new tourism minister I want to ensure that this trend continues.

“Promoting the UK as a must visit destination to the rest of the world is paramount in ensuring that local areas can reap the benefits of tourism and I am committed to working with the sector to drive economic growth across the UK.”

VisitBritain director Patricia Yates added: “Boosting inbound tourism throughout Britain is at the heart of our work, so it is very encouraging to see the growth across our nations and regions.

“Tourism is one of our most valuable export industries and we are forecasting that growth will continue in 2018, with 41.7 million overseas visits to the UK and visitors spending almost £27 billion.”