New International travel figures show that visitors to London spent a record £8.6 billion last year, as the capital welcomed its highest numbers of tourists and business travellers in four years. The news will be a welcome indication for Sales Directors looking to capitalise on these market trends.
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 3 per cent on the previous year.
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 4%. 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 5%
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% followed by Brazil (36%), India (31%) and China (17%) and a total spend of over £500 million up a massive 40% 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.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: '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. Whether it's for business or pleasure the capital offers an experience that no other world city can and as we look towards the 2012 Games and beyond our offering is only going to get better. 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.'
Interim CEO, London & Partners Danny Lopez said: 'These figures show that London continues to be a popular destination for both leisure and business visitors. 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.
'As we prepare to host some incredible events such as the royal wedding, the Queen’s Jubilee and the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, London & Partners are well positioned to promote all that is unique about London to maintain our position as the number one international visitor destination.'
Visits from the USA provided mixed news with business visits increasing by 6.23%, the first growth since 2007, while leisure visitors saw an overall decrease of 10%, however, by the fourth quarter of the year, figures did indicate that leisure visits were starting to increase. The overall spend from the USA was approximately £1.3 billion.