Monday 04 November 2013

International visitor numbers to London are at a record high as the capital continues to bask in a post-Olympic glow that has seen 7.9 million tourists visit London in the first six months of 2013 and spending over £4.9 billion, a 12.4% increase compared to the same time last year.

Further growth in visitor numbers is expected next year, particularly from emerging and developing tourism markets in South America and Asia such as visitors from China increasing by 121% since 2009.

London has even more to offer visitors in 2014 with a range of new exhibitions, West End Theatre productions, international major events and hotel and restaurant openings.

London Partners Director of Consumer Marketing and Digital Channels, Julie Chappell said: “London is one of the most inspirational and diverse capitals in the world and for tourists there is a huge range of experiences on offer from royal heritage to bespoke luxury shopping to free museums.  

“London boasts 8000 restaurants, 1000 museums, 200 theatres, over 120,000 hotel rooms for all budgets, five international airports and is the gateway to Great Britain. International tourists can’t get enough of our amazing city, visiting the capital in record numbers.  

“London attractions have also seen a 9.6% increase in visitor numbers in the first six months of 2013 and next year there is a range of new attractions on offer to the public including the highly anticipated opening of London’s major new tourist destination, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford.”

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will open its South Park Hub to the public in April including the Aquatics Centre and ArcelorMittal Orbit. The park is predicted to attract 9.3 million local and international visitors a year by 2016, hosting hundreds of events each year including sport and entertainment. The regeneration of the East End, where no two streets are the same, has made it one of the hippest areas to visit on the planet.

The capital’s cultural offering in 2014 includes the opening of the new Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in early January at Shakespeare’s Globe. This new Jacobean theatre will provide an indoor playing space during the winter months and will host a wide variety of events all year round. It will be completely unique amongst London venues, with a handmade oak structure and pit seating, lit by hundreds of candles during performances.

There will be a major Rembrandt exhibition at the National Gallery; Henri Matisse: The Cut Outs at the Tate Modern; Vikings exhibition at the British Museum; John Constable at the VA and the Barbican is hosting a retrospective of Jean Paul Gautier’s designs from the 1970s to present day. 

London’s world famous theatre district, the West End will host new musicals such as

I Can’t Sing! X Factor Musical!, Made In Dagenham, The Full Monty and the UK premiere of Tony-Award winning Urinetown. Popular classics including Fame – The Musical and Miss Saigon return to the capital in 2014.

London’s world class events start with a bang at the Mayor’s New Year’s Fireworks at the EDF Energy London Eye and continue throughout the year from the Virgin London Marathon to Tour de France 2014 to Wimbledon Championships to the second Prudential RideLondon mass cycling event and Notting Hill Carnival.

New hotels opening in the capital include The Mondrian, South Bank; The Beaumont Hotel in Mayfair and Hub by Premier Inn. Cantonese culinary genius, Alan Yau will open a Chinese Gastropub, Duck Rice in Soho and chef Jason Atherton will continue his takeover of the London food scene with a new restaurant, City Social.

Tourism in London supports 226,000 jobs, around 5% of all employment in the capital. Every £58,000 generated by tourism supports a job in the sector.

London Partners CEO, Gordon Innes said: “We have been working hard with the GLA and our partners to capitalise on the Olympic legacy and grow visitor numbers this year and into the future.  If this trend continues we are set to have a bumper 2013 with more international visitors coming to the capital than during the landmark Olympic year which attracted 15.5 million international visitors.”  

At World Travel Market 2013, London Partners will launch the new London Official Guide 2014 and What’s New 2014 featuring a comprehensive list of what’s new in London next year. 

The London Official Guide 2014 for travel trade is an inspirational brochure with themed itineraries and new features highlighting London’s accommodation, attractions, shopping, entertainment, restaurants and more. The Guide is available as a printed brochure and as a PDF online at

Notes to Editors

World Travel Market

The London Partners will be located on the UKInbound stand, UK1400.

London partners attending World Travel Market include Arsenal Football Club, Big Bus Tours, Chelsea FC Stadium Tours and Museum, City Cruises, Cutty Sark, Encore Tickets Ltd, Fulham FC, Group Line, Guoman Hotels, Heritage is Great Britain, Hilton Worldwide, Jury’s Inn, London Theatre Direct, made Tourism Marketing, Medieval Banquet, Merlin Entertainments, PPHE Hotel Group, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! London, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Royal Collection Trust, St Paul’s Cathedral, The Leisure Pass Group, The Original London Sightseeing Tour Ltd, The View from The Shard, Twickenham World Rugby Museum Stadium Tour, Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Thistle Hotels Wembley Stadium Tours, Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum and Tour and ZSL London Zoo.

2012 Tourism figures

  • International Visitor numbers to London were up 1.1% in 2012 (15.5 million visitors)
  • Spend in London was up 7% in 2012 (£10.8 billion).

2013 First Quarter figures

  • In the first three months of 2013, 3.4 million international tourists visited London, a 4.2% boost on the same period last year.
  • Expenditure over the same period reached £2.1 billon, a significant 11.5% increase compared with the first quarter of last year.

Figures are taken from Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey.  Further analysis of the figures is available on the VisitBritain website.

London Attractions Monitor

Based on figures from 33 London attractions, London Partners publishes the London Attractions Monitor every month, giving an overview of the current state of London’s visitor attractions. For more information on London attractions go to


Tamara Sperling, London Partners, or 

+44 (0)20 7234 5784

Jodie Byford, London Partners, or

+44 (0)20 7234 5737

Twitter: @London_PR