London wins WTA destination prize

London has capped an amazing 2007 by being named Destination of the Year at the World Travel Awards.The World Travel Awards are the most comprehensive and prestigious awards program in the travel industry. They recognise excellence in the world’s travel and tourism industry and are voted for by travel professionals from 167,000 travel agencies, tour and transport companies and tourism organisations across the globe.

Facing competition from city destinations including New York and Sydney as well as the island destinations of Barbados and the Maldives, London beat 12 others to be named Destination of the Year at a glittering celebration last night.

Visit London Chief Executive James Bidwell said: “This award bolsters London’s position as is the number 1 city destination in the world and tops an incredible year for the UK capital. 2006 was a record year for overseas visitors to London and our global market share of international visitor numbers also increased. From building new world-class venues to attracting international sporting events, our intention is to continue this momentum in the lead up to and beyond the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. We will not rest on our laurels but continue to innovate and seek highly creative solutions in all that we do.”

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone said: “Last year’s record number of overseas visitors to London reflects the capital’s profile on the world stage. Visit London has become one of the most professional marketing organisations in the world, delivering hundreds of millions of pounds in economic benefit to the city and the Destination of the Year Award is testament to this. London drives the UK economy and the promotion of the capital translates directly into jobs and income for Londoners.”

2007 has been an exciting year for London, with a host of openings and events including:

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  * Wembley Stadium (March)
  * London Zoo’s Gorilla Kingdom (March)
  * The O2 (June)
  * Royal Festival Hall (June)
  * The Tour de France Grand D├ępart (July)
  * India Now! (July)
  * China’s Terracotta Army at the British Museum (September)
  * American National Football League (October)
  * St Pancras International (November)
  * Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs (November)
  * London Transport Museum (November)
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