TOURIST attractions and leisure businesses across North Yorkshire have been boosted by a record-breaking year for visitors to the region.

The latest figures show 1.39 million international visitors were welcomed to Yorkshire in 2018, which is an increase of almost four per cent on the previous year.

The annual overseas visitor spend has topped £600 million for the very first time as more people than ever travel from abroad to experience everything Yorkshire has to offer.

It reached £603.73 million in 2018, an increase of 6.44 per cent compared to 2017 and the highest figure since records began.

The Northern Echo:

Yorkshire is the only region in the UK to have seen an increase in the number of visits, the length of stay and the spend of international visitors in 2018.

The announcements come just two months after Welcome to Yorkshire revealed that tourism in the county is now worth £9 billion per annum to the economy, an increase of £1 billion in just one year.

Welcome to Yorkshire’s Commercial Director Peter Dodd said: “We’re thrilled that Yorkshire continues to shine globally, attracting visitors from all over the world.

"Last year’s fantastic weather and action-packed events calendar combined with the fact that the UK is such a great value destination right now means we’ve seen some brilliant visitor numbers for 2018.

“There’s so much on offer in Yorkshire: stunning gardens, countryside and coastline, vibrant cities and thriving market towns.

"And with so many top-class attractions, businesses and over 7,000 places to eat and drink, including five Michelin-starred restaurants, it’s not hard to see why international spending has topped the £600 million mark for the first time."

The Northern Echo:

The county hosts a busy calendar of international events all year round, this year welcoming the world for Yorkshire Sculpture International, the World Triathlon Series, the Cricket World Cup and the UCI Road World Championships which pass through Hambleton and Richmondshire.

The eight-day world championships competition will be televised to a global audience of 300 million people, with top cyclists from across the globe competing for the coveted World title.

It is the first time the event has been hosted in the UK since 1982, presenting a massive opportunity to showcase Yorkshire to the rest of the world and continue to attract international visitors.

Yorkshire also saw a two per cent rise in the number of nights domestic visitors spent in the county in 2018.

There was a small decrease in the number of trips made to Yorkshire and no change to the amount spent by visitors from the UK.