London welcomed a record 14 million international visits in the first nine months of 2016 putting the city on course for another bumper tourism year, according to International Passenger Survey (IPS) figures released today.
From July to September 2016 there were 5.2 million overseas visits to the city, a decrease of 0.8 percent when compared to the same period in 2015 but the second highest summer period on record.
Last summer visitors flocked to the opening of Buckingham Palace, David Hockney at the Royal Academy and Prudential RideLondon, which saw over 25,000 amateur and professional cyclists take to the closed roads of the capital and Surrey.
The River Thames was also a focal point. To commemorate the 350th anniversary of the great fire of London a 100ft wooden replica of the city in 1666 was set alight. And ‘Floating Dreams’ by South Korean Artist Ik-Joong Kang, was another major installation on the river, as part of the 2016 Totally Thames Festival, which was enjoyed by over 2.2 million people.
Separate analysis from Forward Keys, a company that predicts the number of overseas travel agent bookings to London, forecasts that in the first three months of 2017 bookings from American tourists will go up 25% and up 40% from China, when compared to the same period in 2016.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “These figures demonstrate the phenomenal draw of our city’s world-class sport, culture, art, history and architecture. London remains well and truly open and welcomes visitors from every corner of the globe.”
The opening of new hotels, such as the five star Great Scotland Yard Hotel and Nobu Hotel Shoreditch, as well as events marking the 125th anniversary of the publication of the first Sherlock Holmes story, 20 years since the first Harry Potter book, a world class season of American art and the Pink Floyd exhibition at the V&A, will hopefully continue to draw in tourists from all over the world this year.
The tourism industry is a major contributor to the London economy. Overall the sector contributes more than £36 billion to the capital every year and supports around 700,000 thousand jobs.
VisitLondon.com recently calculated that visitors to the capital from abroad could save hundreds of pounds on hotels, meals and attractions due to the weakened UK currency.