According to a new report from VisitBritain, only 13% of the 30 million foreign tourists visit coastal towns and cities when they visit the UK.

The tourist board said 3.9million overseas travellers visited the coast in 2009, spending £2 billion on trips. Scotland’s coastline attracted the highest number with 768,000 foreigners visiting Edinburgh, 312,000 heading to Glasgow and 180,000 to Inverness.

Top English destinations were Liverpool, which has the redeveloped Albert Dock and canal. Brighton and Hove, which includes two piers and eight miles of coastline and had 128,000 foreign visitors. Bristol attracted 119,000 and Cardiff’s coastline, which features the coast of Glamorgan, had 110,000 visitors.

Germans visited coasts most often – making over half a million visits – and there were over 400,000 visits from French and American visitors.

Interestingly Chinese and Russian visitors are much more likely to visit the coast (one in four visitors) than visitors from France and India (one in eight).

The report comes as VisitBritain is preparing to launch British Tourism Week with a series of parties on seaside piers across the country.