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 latest figures from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) show the capital bucked the UK trend; the rest of the country suffered an overall decrease in visitors of four per cent.
The total visitor spend rose over five per cent spurred by positive growth from emerging markets.
Russia provided the biggest increase (37%) followed by Brazil (36%), India (31%) and China (17%).
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said the new figures showed London’s attraction was 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,” the Mayor said.
“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,” he added.
The IPS figures follow the news of the creation of a new promotional agency for thecapital, London & Partners. It brings together the work of the capital’s former key promotional agencies – Visit London, Think London and Study London, which were previously responsible for attracting tourism, inward investment and international students, respectively.
The increase in visitor numbers came despite the travel disruption caused last year by volcanic ash, strikes and severe weather conditions. There were 2.8 million business visitors to the capital in 2010, representing a 7.6 per cent increase.
Business visits from the US market increased by 6.2 per cent, the first growth since2007.
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