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Published on : Tuesday, May 26, 2015
London welcomed 17.4 million international visitors to the city during 2014, topping last year’s record-breaking figures, according to data released by the Office for National Statistics’ International Passenger Survey (IPS).
The new figures show there were 17.4 million business visits and leisure stays in the city during 2014 up 3.5% from the previous record of 16.8million visits in 2013. The number of business visitors to London reached 3.3 million, up from 3.2 million in 2013.
The surge in visitors since the 2012 Olympic Games has been welcomed by businesses as international visitors are spending more in the city’s restaurants, hotels and attractions than ever before. In 2014 visitors boosted London’s economy by £11.8 billion compared to £11.5 billion in 2013, an increase of 3%.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “These terrific new figures confirm that record numbers of tourists are spending record amounts of dosh in our amazing city. Our status as the number one destination in the world is surely beyond any doubt, and with incredible attractions like the Rugby World Cup heading our way we look forward to welcoming many thousands more visitors to London.”
The record business visitor numbers are attributed, in part, to many of the flagship corporate and association events taking place in London, such as 2014’s inaugural London Technology Week which saw tens of thousands of people attend over 200 events during the week. Other highlight events from 2014 include Advertising Week Europe, Soho Create and the European Society of Pathology’s congress which enjoyed a 23 per cent increase in attendance compared to 2013. Later this year 35,000 medical professionals are expected in the capital the European Society of Cardiology’s annual congress from 29 August – 2 September 2015.
The uplift in visitor numbers is reflected across Britain which welcomed nearly 34.4 million visitors, a 5.2% increase compared to 2013. International tourists spent £21.8 billion, up 2.8% compared to the previous year.
Gordon Innes, Chief Executive of London & Partners, the official convention bureau for the city, adds: “London continues to attract record numbers of international visitors, injecting billions into the capital’s economy each year. London’s attractiveness as a business destination, its expertise within the technology, life sciences and financial sectors, combined with its rich heritage and world-leading cultural offer, is expected to attract many more millions from the UK and abroad, continuing the growth of international visitor numbers in 2015.”
London is expecting a boost of up to 12,000 further hotel rooms during 2015 to meet increased demand within the city. David Gibbons, from Edwardian Group London, says: “London is a booming world city with a tourism offer that is diversifying and improving year-on-year. We are committed to helping drive forward the city’s tourism economy, particularly by enhancing our MICE market offer through ongoing investment and continuous innovation across our properties, such as The May Fair or our Radisson Blu Edwardian, Heathrow hotel.”
Hotels due to open later this year include the eagerly awaited InterContinental London – The O2, Hilton London Bankside, CitizenM Tower of London and The Lanesborough London.