LONDON is predicted to have welcomed 16m tourists in 2013, surpassing Paris’s record of 15.9m in 2012 and crowning the capital as the most popular city to visit in the world.
The number of tourists visiting London jumped 20 per cent last summer with the capital attracting 4.9m visitors between July and September, up almost 19.5 per cent on the bumper Olympic summer of 2012.
The Royal baby, a long hot summer, Andy Murray’s Wimbledon victory and popular exhibits around the capital’s museums are all credited with drawing tourists to the capital.
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed yesterday that London’s tourists also spent more in the capital, about five per cent more than during the bumper Olympic summer, at around £3.372bn during the July and September period of 2013.
“We are the first city in history where the number of tourists has gone up after the Olympic Games not down and I think that is down to a realisation of the capital, that took place during the Games, people saw beyond beefeaters and the royal family and heritage, they saw a fantastic vibrant, exciting, sexy, young welcoming city,” said London and Partners chairman Kit Malthouse.
In the rest of the UK the numbers of visits continued to rise in November, along with a big boost in spending by tourists towards the end of 2013.
The ONS said that the number of trips to the UK between September and November was 8.15m, up seven per cent from 2012.
The figures push the number of trips to the UK made during the first 11 months of the year to over 30m.
Earnings from visitor spending for the UK reached £19.3bn between January and November, a 12 per cent jump from the year before.
The origin of visitors to the UK is still changing: visits from North America fell one per cent in the year against November 2012, while trips from other EU countries boomed, up by 17 per cent.