London welcomed more international visitors than ever before in 2014, with the city’s cultural attractions and world class sporting events proving irresistible draws for millions, according to new figures released by the Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey.
The new figures show there were 17.4 million visits to the city in 2014 up 3.5 per cent from the previous record of 16.8million visits 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 three per cent.
The city proved to be one of the world’s biggest tourist magnets with a diverse and eclectic mix of blockbuster exhibitions and events, including Henri Matisse: The Cut Outs at the Tate Modern, Ming: 50 years that Changed China at the British Museum, Anselm Kiefer at the Royal Academy, Sherlock Holmes at the Museum of London, the Frieze Art Fair, the Tour de France Grand Départ, Wimbledon Tennis Championships and the Chelsea Flower Show, encouraging people to visit from all over the world.
London mayor 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 uplift in visitor numbers is reflected across Britain which welcomed nearly 34.4 million visitors, a 5.2 per cent increase compared to 2013.
International tourists spent £21.8 billion, up 2.8 per cent compared to the previous year.
A record 58 million people from the UK and overseas visited the city’s 40 most popular tourist attractions last year, up four per cent compared to 2013, according to the Attractions Monitor, a detailed visitor survey compiled by London & Partners, the Mayor’s international promotional company for the city.
Gordon Innes, chief executive of London & Partners, added: “London continues to attract record numbers of international visitors, injecting billions into the capital’s economy each year.
“Royal occasions, like the arrival of Princess Charlotte, combined with London’s heritage, attractions 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.”