Overseas visitors boosted UK tourism by £8.72bn with record-high spending seen for the first six months of the year, an 11% increase on 2012.

Figures released by the Office for National Statistics show that tourists spend £1.84bn in June - an increase of 13% compared with the same time last year.

The half-year figures were boosted by spending in June. Overall, the UK welcomed 15.24m visitors to the UK, a four % rise on the first six months of last year.

Of these visits, 2.89m were made in June, a rise of 12% compared with last year.

Hugh Roberts, tourism minister, said: "These record figures for June show that our tourism strategy is working. We did all we can to showcase the best of Britain to the world in 2012 and it's paying off.

"The tourism sector has a big role to play in delivering economic growth and we must keep up this momentum and continue to promote Britain as a great place to visit."

Tourism figures were boosted from spending in June, which totaled £1.84bn (Reuters)

In June, 1.22 million visits to the UK by foreign nationals were for holiday purposes, a rise of 17% on last year. In total holiday visits for the first six months of the year rose by two %, reaching 5.73m.

ONS figures show UK residents have made 25.97m visits abroad in the six months to June, up one % on last year. During this period, they spent £15.21bn on overseas trips, representing a five % increase on 2012.

Speaking about tourism in the UK, Keith Beecham, overseas director of VisitBritian, said: "This is the second consecutive month we have seen record visits and spend, while the first six months of the year have also delivered a record.

"In June the UK welcomed more than a visitor every single second (67 overseas visitors a minute).

"If this trend continues, it would see us welcome one overseas visitor every second of every day of every week of every month of the year. This is great news for the economy and a further sign that tourism is delivering growth across the country."