As the Barclays Premier League kicks off again this week after a high-profile international break, new figures released by national tourism agency VisitBritain show that nearly one million overseas visitors watched a game of football here last year.
Around 40 per cent of foreign fans going to a football match said that watching sport was the main reason for visiting the UK. These 900,000 foreign football tourists spent a substantial £706 million, the equivalent of £785 per fan, and £200 more than the average visitor.
VisitBritain joined forces with the English Premier League back in 2008 to help promote the home of football in key overseas tourism markets using links to – and testimonials from - Premier League players and clubs.
The football tourism industry has the added benefit of drawing in crowds at times which are generally off-peak for visitors, particularly between January and March. Norwegians were found to be the most football-orientated visitors, with one in thirteen catching a football match.
Nearly twenty per cent of spectators saw a game at Old Trafford, followed closely by Anfield.
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