Thursday 10 October 2013

A record 7.9 million tourists visited London in the first six months of 2013, the best ever first half year tourism numbers in history. The figures published today from the latest International Passenger Survey (IPS) show a 7.7% boost on the same period last year, confirming a definitive Olympic boost.

Tourist spending over the same period was £4.9 billion, a 12.4% increase compared with the first half of last year. Spending in London’s tourism sector has increased every quarter for the last two years.

London is bucking the trend compared to some other Olympic and Paralympic host cities who have recorded a drop in tourism after hosting the Games.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “Last summer the palpable buzz of this great city was beamed across the globe. Since then London’s draw has gone from strength to strength with billions of pounds of international investment and huge regeneration projects continuing apace. These fantastic tourism figures not only support new jobs and growth in London’s economy but are yet another testament to the Olympic legacy.”

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.

London attractions have also seen an increase in visitor numbers. Attendance at the 33 attractions surveyed monthly by London Partners including the British Museum, London Eye, and the Tower of London show visitor numbers for the first six months of 2013 were 9.6% higher than the same period the previous year.

Danny Homan, Director of Communication and Development for Historic Royal Palaces, said: “So far 2013 has been an incredible year across all of the palaces, in particular the Tower of London, where 75% of our visitors are international, and so far this year we are 25% up on last year. If this continues we expect to see the highest number of visits to the Tower on record. We can attribute this to a buoyant inbound visitor market following on from the high profile Jubilee celebrations and the success of the Olympics, where the palaces were often centre-stage, but also the enduring popularity for visitors from all over the world of London’s extraordinary built heritage.”

Hotels are also benefiting from the Olympic legacy as more tourists come to London. Linda Plant, Director of Marketing Edwardian Group London said: “We have seen a consistent increase in the number of people staying with us and the number of bookings over the last six months. At Edwardian Group London, we believe the capital can cater for everyone and we pride ourselves in being able to reflect that thorough our hotels and restaurant concepts too. These positive figures prove that London continues to be an essential destination for world travellers and domestic visitors and show that growth within the hospitality industry has maintained its momentum post-London 2012.

Today’s figures are taken from Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey and are provisional. 

Further analysis of the figures is available on the VisitBritain website.

Notes to Editors

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 £2.1billon, a significant 11.5% increase compared with the first quarter of last year.

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 visit


Tamara Sperling, London Partners, or +44 (0)20 7234 5784.

Phil Nettleton, London Partners, or +44 (0)20 7234 5787