September 22, 2017 / 12:45 PM / a year ago

More foreigners than ever visit UK after Brexit hit to pound

LONDON (Reuters) - A record number of foreigners visited Britain in July, data showed on Friday, adding to evidence of how the weak pound has made tourism a big beneficiary of last year’s Brexit vote.

Tourists view the Elizabeth Tower, which houses the Great Clock and the 'Big Ben' bell, at the Houses of Parliament, in central London, Britain, August 16, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

The number of overseas residents coming to Britain in July rose to 4.02 million, the highest for any month since records began and the first time the figure has topped 4 million.

That was 6 percent up on July 2016, the Office for National Statistics said.

By contrast, the number of British residents going abroad during the month fell by 2 percent to 6.94 million.

The value of sterling fell sharply after the June 2016 referendum decision to leave the European Union, leading to higher inflation for British households - and more expensive holidays abroad - but lower prices for foreign tourists.

In the first seven months of the year, the number of overseas visitors to Britain rose by 8 percent while Britons traveling abroad rose by 3 percent, the ONS said, based on preliminary data.

Foreign visitors to Britain spent 13.3 billion pounds ($18.1 billion) in the January-July period, up 9 percent, while Britons increased their spending abroad by 5 percent to 24.3 billion pounds.

Reporting by William Schomberg; editing by John Stonestreet

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