Last month's Brexit vote has put European tourists off visiting London

Francesca Washtell
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Fewer European tourists will be watching the changing of the guard this summer (Source: Getty)

If you thought the streets were a little less crowded this summer, you might be on to something

European tourists have been put off visiting London after last month's surprise Brexit vote and the political turmoil that has emerged in its wake.

Bookings to the capital, which was named the world's top tourist destination by MasterCard in 2015, were down 35 per cent year-on-year in the two weeks after the referendum announcement, according to European top-five travel booking site Tripsta.

While London was the worst-hit destination in the referendum aftermath, travel bookings to the UK as a whole were down 14 per cent year-on-year in the same fortnight.

Read more: This county is a surprise top European tourist destination this summer

On the EU referendum result day, 24 June, travel bookings to London and the UK were down 28 per cent and 27 per cent compared to the same day in 2015 respectively.

In addition, analysed bookings showed a significant impact on outbound travel from the UK – down a huge 90 percent on the 24 June and 69 percent in the fortnight that followed.

Tripsta chief executive Philipp Brinkmann said: "The Brexit watchword has been uncertainty. This has left its mark on the stock market and we can see that it is also impacting the UK, and especially London, as a travel destination.

Read more: Why Brexit would turn London into a museum

"This is not due to a new Brexit-inspired xenophobia, but a country in the midst of seismic political change is not appealing from a destination marketing point of view.

"We are confident travel to the UK and London will thrive again, but it is crucial stability is regained as soon as possible to minimise the damage done to the UK's tourism industry."

Big Ben, the British Museum and the South Bank enticed a record 31.5m international visitors to London in 2015, figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

The capital accounts for 54 per cent of all inbound visitor spending to the UK, while tourism has been the fastest growing sector in UK employment terms since 2010, according to Visit England.

Labour London Assembly economic spokesperson, Fiona Twycross, warned before the referendum a leave vote could result in London losing its crown as the world's top tourist destination.

"For years London has been the world’s prime tourist destinations precisely because we are renowned for our openness and welcoming of visitors," Twycross said.

"Leaving the EU would effectively signal that we are pulling up the drawbridge and that London is closed for business. Not only would this diminish our great city, it would discourage the tourists who contribute so much to our economy."

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