Mayor of London Sadiq Khan today said the city was one of the best places in the world to visit as new figures show the capital remains the favoured destination for international travellers.
According to the Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey, London received a record 3.8 million visits from overseas travellers in the first three months of this year, an increase of seven per cent, when compared to the same period in 2015.
Spending by international travellers during this period, which included cultural highlights like Lumiere London, a unique light festival which lit up the West End and Kings Cross, was over £2.2billion, an increase of four per cent compared to the same period last year.
Tourism chiefs say there has never been a better time for overseas visitors to visit the capital with hotels, attractions and shops offering great value due to the weakened pound.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Yet again we have seen a rise in the number of visitors to London, which underlines how important our world-renowned art, culture, sport, architecture and history is to the capital.
“My message is clear: London is open and welcomes visitors from every corner of the globe.”
Gordon Innes, CEO London & Partners said: “London offers even better value for international travellers than ever before. With events to mark the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London and an unrivalled season of cultural events on the horizon this autumn it couldn’t be a better time to book a trip to the city.”
However, despite the weakened pound, it is too early predict the impact of the Brexit vote.
Tourism is worth £36 billion to the London economy every year and creates jobs for tens of thousands of people in the capital.
The UK has also has had a record-breaking first quarter echoing the growth seen annually from inbound tourism with a record 36.1 million visits last year. Last year London attracted record numbers of international tourists welcoming a record 18.6 million.
According to the London Attractions Monitor, a survey of over 50 of the city’s major tourist attractions, visits remained steady at 13.2million during the first quarter of this year compared to the same period last year.
2016 has already celebrated some momentous occasions, including the Queen’s 90th Birthday and Shakespeare 400.
London has a jam-packed cultural calendar of exhibitions, events and performances including, EXHIBITIONISM at the Saatchi Gallery, the sold-out stage production of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the much anticipated Groundhog Day part directed by songwriter Tim Minchin and also Romeo and Juliet starring Game of Thrones star Richard Madden.
A major new extension at Tate Modern has been hailed as the most important new cultural building in the UK since the British Library in 1998 – the new extension will provide even more space to display world-class exhibitions.