I’ve been doing some research into this area and have been pleasantly surprised to discover in reading Visit London’s Media Fact Sheets, that London is regarded as the world’s most popular city destination for international tourists.
But perhaps I shouldn’t be so surprised at London’s popular world city status, given that four of the ten most popular museums in the world are located in London – along with many other factors of course!
Did you know that in 2007 London had twice as many international visitors than Paris, and almost twice as many as New York too?
According to the Mayor of London’s Cultural Metropolis document (outlining Boris’ priorities for Culture from 2009 – 2012), seven out of ten visitors to London say that the city’s cultural offer influenced their decision to visit.
In 2007, while the number of overseas visits to London was down (by 1.3% on 2006 to 15.3m), the spend was up by 5.3% to a record £8.2bn, and the visits were longer (expanded by 2.4% per annum since 2000).
As you might expect, most overseas visitors to London come from Europe (47% of them in fact), and the largest international market is the US (15%).
The overseas market generates the largest slice of tourism income, with £8bn for the first time ever in 2007.
Over the last ten years, whilst overseas arrival have grown strongly, domestic overnight visits have declined steadily – a pattern mirrored across the UK.
A typical overseas visitor will stay 6.2 days, while a domestic one will stay 2.3 days.
Some interesting facts about London acting as a gateway to the rest of Britain…
Did you know? (Source: LDA: London Tourism Vision)
45% of all overseas visitors entering UK do so via London?
In 2004, 45% of all spend by overseas visitors in Britain was in London.
London’s gateway status is similar to that of cities such as Sydney (50% of visitors to Australia) and Dublin (54% of visitors to Ireland).
But – other capital cities such as Paris (accounting for 12% of visitors to France) and Rome (accounting for 10% of visitors to Italy) do not dominate their respective national tourist economies to the same degree that London does in the UK.