The number of visitors to the UK dipped in August, although their overall spend increased, according to new figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS). A total of 3.1m people visited in August, down 2% on 2010 (3.2m) and well below the record of 3.7m in 2006. But the amount they spend increased by 3%, before taking into account inflation. Spend per visit also increased, from £564 to £568. The increased spend in August could be attributed to a 10% rise in visitors for business purposes against a 6% fall in holiday visits. Meanwhile, overall spend by visitors for the first eight months of the year was up 4% on the same period in 2010, a total of £11.65bn. This followed record visitor numbers in June and July. There was a 2% rise in visitors from North America in August, although last August saw the lowest numbers from the region since 1991. The recent trend of strong growth in visitors from Central and South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Australasia reversed, with numbers down 7% on last year. Visits from non-EU European countries were up 14% in August, although there were fewer visits in June and July, leaving overall figures across the three months flat. Sandie Dawe, chief executive of tourism agency VisitBritain, said: “These August 2011 figures show real signs of stability in what has been a strong 2011 to date. “Coupled with the UK’s recent improvement in overseas sentiment, these August figures provide us with a good platform to invite the world to visit Britain.”