Foreign tourists gave a huge boost to Devon and Cornwall in 2011

Official figures show that overseas visitors spent £26m more in Cornwall and Devon during 2011 as foreign tourists that travelled to the holiday regions generated an extra £324m for the economy of the regions.

The 9% surge was surprising given the fact that the amount of people that visited the regions actually fell last year, but the cash boost was thought to have come from visitors choosing to stay in the area longer. The data from the Office for National Statistics was released just a few weeks after criticism was launched at the UK tourism chiefs for not promoting other regions in the UK outside of Londn.

Visit Britain tourism head stated that tourists do not often think of the UK when they think of beach holidays, which can be harmful to areas such as Cornwall and Devon which make up about a third of the coastline in the UK.

Head of Visit Cornwall, Malcom Bell stated that Cornwall is very popular domestically but now more needs to be done to promote the region to international travelers as well. He explained that in Europe many people often discuss regions and not countries but when people talk about the UK they only seem to talk about it the entire area as a country.

Bell continued to say that the UK needs to be better packaged as a holiday destination so that people know that you do not just come to enjoy London, but also to enjoy other great regions such as Cornwall and Devon. In order to take advantage of the Olympics Visit Britain has already spent over £100m in promoting areas in London while Torbay bosses have attempted to place adverts of the seaside to help promote other areas as great destinations.