Tourists to London spend over $ 14 b in 2010

Tuesday, 26 April 2011 00:34 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Visitors to London spent a record £8.6 billion ($14.2 billion) last year, as the city welcomed its highest numbers of tourists and business travellers in four years, a report said.

The latest figures from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) reveal that the number of people visiting London in 2010 grew for the first time since 2006, with 14.6 million journeys made – up almost three per cent on the previous year, said London & Partners, the official promotional agency for London city.

2010 proved to be particularly successful for the capital as it bucked the trend for the rest of the UK, which suffered an overall decrease in visitors of four per cent. The figures reveal that the capital was a strong magnet for tourism and business with visitors spending a record £8.6 billion – up more than five per cent, it said.

The figures show a major boost to the city was spurred by positive growth from emerging markets, including the BRIC nations, with Russia providing the biggest increase of 37 per cent followed by Brazil (36 per cent), India (31 per cent) and China (17 per cent) and a total spend of over £500 million, up a massive 40 per cent when compared to 2009.

With the Royal wedding, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games all on the horizon, London is now in a strong position to capitalise on last year’s strong performance and cement its reputation as the best big city in the world to visit and do business in.

“London has always been a magnet for visitors from all four corners of the globe and these new figures show that our attraction is stronger than ever. We must do all we can to stay at the top of our game and ensure that we give all visitors to London a welcome and an experience that they will never forget,” said the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.

The IPS figures follow the news that a new promotional agency for the capital has been created. London & Partners brings together the work of the capital’s former key promotional agencies – Visit London, Think London and Study London, which were previously responsible for attracting tourism, inward investment and international students.

“It is very positive news for the capital that we are not only attracting new markets but continuing to see growth from some of our traditional markets,” added Danny Lopez, interim CEO, London & Partners.

The news for 2010 was positive for both the leisure and business tourism sectors with around 7.3 million leisure visitors (3.2 per cent increase) and 2.8 million business visitors (7.6 per cent increase).

The provisional IPS figures come hot on the heels of the latest international student figures which reveal that over 105,000 international higher education students now come to London per year making it the most popular destination for studying abroad. London & Partners also released new research highlighting that the capital is the world’s most popular destination for hosting major events.

With a huge number of exciting events taking place in 2011, from the Festival of Britain at the South Bank to Badminton World Championships and UEFA Champion’s League final, London is gearing up to welcome even more visitors this year, added Lopez.