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London welcomes record number of tourists

October 14, 2014 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

Official figures released today (Thursday 9 October) show that international tourists made nearly 8.5 million trips to the city in the first six months of this year, a 7.6 per cent increase when compared to the same period in 2013.

Visitor numbers are predicted to stay high as museums and galleries across the capital open their doors for a blockbuster Autumn Season and the city gears up to welcome dozens of life-sizePaddington Bears in preparation for the global release of the new film. 3713-300x169

According to the Office of National Statistics International Passenger Survey visitors to London also spent nearly £5.3 billion, an increase of 6 per cent on the same period last year.

The good news for London was replicated across the whole of the United Kingdom with the first half of 2014 being the most popular period ever for tourism into the UK. Tourists made 16.41 million trips to the UK between January and June, an 8% rise on the same period in 2013. Spending by foreign residents in the UK has reached £8.92bn so far this year.

Kit Malthouse, Chair of London & Partners, the city’s business and promotional company, said: “These latest figures once again prove that London is the world’s favourite tourist destination with more people than ever coming to enjoy everything the city offers, from world-class culture and theatre to the best sporting events.

“We are experiencing significant increases in the number of people attending museums and galleries, and with the exceptional line up of exhibitions across the city this autumn we are expecting London to be one of the hottest tickets around.

“It’s great news that increasing numbers of people, from all corners of the globe, are choosing to come to the city to soak up the atmosphere and experience the most vibrant and diverse city on earth.”

This summer, the capital’s museums and galleries had record-breaking visitor numbers. In August alone, the re-opened Imperial War Museum welcomed more than 250,000 visitors as it helped to mark the centenary of the First World War. The National Gallery saw 681,000 pass through its doors – more than 100,000 above last August’s figure.

The Tate announced that Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs received 562,622 visitors between April to September, making it the most popular exhibition ever held at Tate and the first to receive over half a million people.

Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate said: “We are delighted that so many people came to see Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern, which captured the imaginations of visitors of all ages throughout the spring and summer this year. London is one of the most important places in the world to experience art from major historic collections to the very best new contemporary art.”

Gordon Innes, Chief Executive of London & Partners, said: “We are continually striving to promote the capital’s strengths to the world and this is being reflected in the number of people who are coming to the city in ever increasing numbers.

“From magnificent exhibitions, theatre, nightlife and many other attractions, London offers so much choice to visitors that more and more people are deciding the city is well worth visiting.”

The stellar line-up of shows and exhibitions taking place this autumn includes Turner at Tate Britain, Anselm Kiefer at the Royal Academy and Ming: 50 years that changed China, at the British Museum. Forecasts show over two million tourists are expected to visit the array of world class exhibitions and events taking place throughout the city this autumn.

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