A new report by VisitBritain indicates that foreign visitors who saw a theatre show on their trip are more likely to recommend the UK to friends in comparison to those who didn’t go to one.

The findings show that a tenth of the 30m travellers who came to the UK in 2009 went to see a production but while the theatre is not initially the deciding factor for a trip to the UK, visitors found it enhanced their visit so much that “ those who did go are much more likely to recommend the UK as a holiday destination than other travellers to this country.”

The report also adds: “Word of mouth is the most powerful way that overseas visitors find out about the magic of London’s theatre. The growth of social media such as Facebook and Twitter means that gossip about just how good theatre is in London has the potential to spread more widely.”

It wasn’t just London that attracted the theatre crowds, all regions in the UK saw overseas visitors going to the theatre. In 2009, Scotland’s cities attracted 120,000, the south-west 106,000 and the south-east (outside London) attracted 235,000.

Chief executive VisitBritain Sandie Dawe said: “Britain has a phenomenal theatre industry. Whether it is a feel good musical like Billy Elliot or Mamma Mia, a Shakespearean tragedy, grand opera or beautiful ballet, you are never far from a world class experience.

“This report shows that British theatre is making a massive contribution to Britain’s economy. Everyone can follow the worldwide debate about the cultural attractions that Britain has to offer on our LoveUK page on Facebook and Twitter.”