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London offers best cultural experience of any city in the world, with US and UK visitors flocking to leading cultural attractions

August 20, 2016 Destination Europe No Comments Print Print Email Email

Mayor Sadiq Khan declares #LondonIsOpen for culture and visitors American and British tourists agree that London is best city in the world and vast majority of transatlantic visitors will return to the capital

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London remains a top tourist destination and open to the world following the EU referendum vote, according to new research, with two thirds of US visitors pledging to return to the capital1.

Analysis carried out by London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s promotional company, shows that London’s booming tourism trade is set to continue post-Brexit, as two thirds of Americans who visited in the last two years said they will definitely return due to a more favourable exchange rate.

Meanwhile, 90 per cent of visitors to London from the US agree the capital’s cultural experiences are the best of any city in the world, with the capital’s iconic museums, galleries, attractions and West-End musicals key reasons for visiting.

Some 7.9 million American tourists have been drawn to the capital since 2012, the year the city hosted the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games2. Separate research released today confirms that London is open as a leading international destination with London’s top museums and galleries reporting an 11 per cent increase in visits from the US since 20123.

London received 31.5 million visits from all over the world in 2015 including 12.9 million tourists from Great Britain. Research from London & Partners shows that 80 per cent of British visitors who have travelled to the capital in the last two years, agree that London is the best city in the world for culture.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will tonight unveil an exciting programme of cultural exhibitions and events at the official launch of London’s Autumn Season at the Science Museum. Supported by the Government’s GREAT campaign, highlights over the coming months will include William Kentridge: Thick Time at the Whitechapel Gallery, London Fashion Weekend at the Saatchi Gallery,Twilight Tours at the Tower of London, Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery at the Science Museum,Michael Clarke Company at the Barbican and The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection at the New Tate Modern.

Other Autumn Season highlights include Fire! Fire! at the Museum of London, You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-70 at the V&A, Picasso Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, Real to Reel: A Century of War Movies at the Imperial War Museum, Paul Nash at Tate Britain, South Africa: The Art of a Nation at the British Museum, Beyond Caravaggio at the National Gallery, Abstract Expressionism at the Royal Academy of Art and Rodin and Dance at the Courtauld Gallery.

Sadiq Khan said: “Our city’s world-class museums, galleries and exhibitions have firmly positioned London as one of the most welcoming and culturally rich cities to visit. Not only does our unique cultural scene make a substantial and vital contribution to our city’s economic prosperity, but I’m delighted to see that London’s creative sector plays such an important role in entertaining tourists from home and across the Atlantic.

“The many millions of visitors who come here time and time again are sending out a clear signal that London is truly open to everyone, and this is the message we will continue to send around the world.”

The highly-celebrated artist Sir Quentin Blake, best known for illustrating books written by Roald Dahl, will join the Mayor at the Autumn Season launch with an illustration to capture the #LondonIsOpen campaign. Sir Quentin commented: “Every morning I go to my London balcony and breathe in thousands of words and pictures, and then I start work.”

The research from London & Partners also reveals that taking tours of London’s famous film locations are big cultural pulls for visitors from both sides of the Atlantic, examples including King’s Cross station where Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express departed, or iconic locations used in James Bond’s Skyfall, The Da Vinci Code and Hugh Grant’s Notting Hill. Visitors from Britain were particularly attracted to cultural events such as Stevie Wonder at Hyde Park, musicals like Wicked and the BFI Film Festival.

When asked about their ultimate London tour guide, British and American tourists were in agreement that Her Majesty the Queen would be their travelling companion of choice, closely followed by footballer David Beckham and singer Adele.

Tourists from the UK and abroad also say the night tube will encourage them to visit more late night events and exhibitions laid on by London’s world class museums and galleries, according to the research.

Nearly 50 percent of visitors to the city say they would definitely visit a late night exhibition if transport to take them home afterwards was available. And one in five tourists rate a visit to a late night event in the top three things they want to experience in the city.

Many museums and galleries already run late night events, often during the week until about 10pm and some exhibitions are so popular, such as Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the V&A, that cultural institutions open their doors late to deal with demand.

Gordon Innes, CEO London & Partners, said: “From the Queen to Adele, Tower Bridge to The Shard, and Picasso to Sir Elton John, London offers one of the most diverse and stimulating cultural experiences of any city in the world.

“With so many new museum openings this year, a stunning array of world class exhibitions and events, the ability to travel 24 hours on the night tube and the city offering better value than ever for international visitors – there has never been a more exciting time to come to London.”

Working with London poet and musician LA Salami, London & Partners has also produced a short film aiming to capture the spirit of the 2016 Autumn Season programme of events – which can be viewed here

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