Original London Sightseeing Tour bus company blames lower tourist numbers for losses

Alys Key
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Tourists take pictures of Big Ben and th
The tour business said it had lost business due to fewer tourists visiting London (Source: Getty)

The bus tour company which ferries tourists around the sights of London has blamed tough trading conditions and heavy traffic for a drop in its profits for last year.

The Original London Sightseeing Tour suffered a 15 per cent decrease in turnover last year to £16.3m, and swung to a loss before tax of £1.4m, compared to a profit last year of £2.6m, according to accounts filed at Companies House.

The company, which runs open-top bus tours of London, complained that works undertaken by the council and TfL during the period had contributed to heavier traffic on the roads, affecting the sightseeing operations. Some bus stands had to be closed due to works and road closures affected the tour operations.

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The company also said that it had been affected by weaker inflows of tourists to the capital.

Most data suggests that visitor numbers to London have risen since the Brexit vote last year, because the weaker pound has encourage more spending. But this would only have affected the second half of 2016, with the trend accelerating this year.

The company also suggested that the global terror threat had affected the number of visitors. Most London hospitality and leisure businesses said that they have seen no impact from the terror threat on bookings in London, but some attractions did see a slight dip in the days after London Bridge this year.

Despite the decline, the company's directors considered performance to be in line with expectations.

Indicators for tourism growth so far this year show that a record number of people came to the UK in July, and that those who visited spent even more than before, meaning the company could be buoyed by an influx of new customers this year.

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