Record numbers of tourists visited the South West during the last heat-wave summer as visitor numbers surged past the pre-recession high, a new survey shows.
The 48 per cent rise in holiday visits to the region last year, compared to the washout of 2012, outstripped the rest of the UK including London, which lagged back with just 26 per cent.
The 512,000 holidaymakers who came during July, August and September last summer was an all-time high for the three-month period, beating the old record of 404,000 set back in 2006.
Tourism businesses received an added bonus from overseas visitors, who alone spent £244 million in the three months – also a new record and an increase of 29 per cent on the £189 million recorded a year before.
The analysis by national tourism body Visit Britain will raise hopes that the fine weather in early summer could produce a bumper 2014.
In June, the renowned global publishing giant Lonely Planet included the South West is among the top three places to visit in Europe this summer and on a par with heavyweight holiday spots Greece and Italy.
The effect of good weather on the region was highlighted in the research, which calculated that 54 per cent of the annual incomers arrived during the summer months, the highest across the regions and nations in Britain.
Yorkshire came in second, with 52 per cent, followed by Scotland in third place with 50 per cent and London, at 32 per cent.
German tourists led the overseas summer charge, with 122,000 trips.
Their total spend of £58 million was another record.