MONMOUTHSHIRE has seen a popularity surge with tourists this summer, according to figures from a holiday rental company.

Owners Direct said they had seen a 96 per cent increase in the number of enquiries over possible visits to the county since last year.

They could not provide specific figures but said holidaymakers prefer to stay in less populated areas and have avoided breaks in London this year.

And people from across the county agreed it has been a good summer for the area's tourism sector.

Manager at The Old Station, Tintern, John Sterry, said there had been a clear increase in trade over the last year and in 2013 at the Tintern attraction.

He said: “We find through our comments book that we are having a lot of repeat business because the visitors love it and that it is not a massive commercial theme park. There’s no gimmicks."

Mr Sterry said the site had seen an increase in walkers and campers visiting the site.

He added: “A lot of people we’ve spoke to this year, particularly in the hot spell, will say things like you couldn’t find anywhere better.

“I think it is because they want to be in a natural environment. They come because they want to be almost in the middle of nowhere.

“We do not have anything other than beautiful landscape – and I think that is a positive rather than a negative.”

And the owner of the Castle View Hotel in Chepstow, Steve McGlone, said: “We’ve been fairly full; we’re full this week. We are normally quite busy and you can’t get complacent.”

The findings were welcomed by Monmouthshire council’s food and tourism strategic manager, Nicola Edwards.

She said: “2014 has been a fairly good year for tourism in Monmouthshire. The weather has been kind, and we’ve benefited from a late Easter and a recovering economy, as well as the introduction of new key events into the county which have attracted significant numbers of visitors to the area.”

New events to Monmouthshire this year included the Wye Valley River Festival in May, the National Cycling Championships in June and the Wales Open Criterium in Chepstow last month.

Other attractions have included the Sunrise Celebration, which relocated to the county for the first time this year.

The Monmouthshire Show will be held later this month, and the Usk Show and Abergavenny Food Festival in September. Last year the food festival year won Best Event in Wales from the National Tourism Awards for Wales and attracted over 30,000 visitors.

And the Tour of Britain will pass through the county for the first time on September 9 and the national Walkers are Welcome conference will be held in Chepstow in October.