New figures released by VisitBritain reveal a sharp rise in the number of overseas visitors travelling to Wiltshire for their summer holiday last year.

The figures, which have been compiled by VisitBritain, show that visits to Wiltshire and other parts of the south west grew at a faster rate than anywhere else in the country, up 48 per cent from July to September last year.

For the whole of 2013, Wiltshire saw a 14 per cent increase in international holiday visits; up from 100,000 in 2012 to 114,000 in 2013.

And spending by international holiday visitors was up seven per cent from £28m in 2012 to £30m in 2013.

David Andrews, CEO of VisitWiltshire, said: “We are delighted to see the continued upward trend in visitor numbers to the county.

“Working closely with our partners VisitWiltshire is ensuring the county, and all it has to offer, is well and truly on the world map.

"We’re delighted our efforts at targeting key international markets, for example hosting 100 key international press and travel trade from markets including France, Germany, Italy, Holland, Australia, China, Russia, Canada and USA, are already paying off.

“With our unrivalled combination of a World Heritage site, unique visitor attractions, top class restaurants, bustling cities, market towns and stunning countryside, Wiltshire is a great destination for international visitors of all ages and interests.”

The figures, which were produced by VisitBritain, also detail the number of international holiday visitors to Salisbury, the only Wiltshire destination analysed in the report, during the third quarter of 2013.

Comparing the number of international holiday visitors visiting Salisbury, July-September 2013 against the same period in 2012:

• German holiday visitors increased 40 per cent from 5,000 in 2012 to 7,000 in 2013.

• Australian holiday visitors increased 133 per cent from 3,000 in 2012 to 7,000 in 2013.

• Dutch holiday visitors increased 67 per cent from 3,000 in 2012 to 5,000 in 2013.

• There were 4,000 French holiday visitors to Salisbury in 2013, more than Manchester, Aberdeen or Liverpool respectively.