The French slightly outnumbered the Americans as the largest group of overseas visitors to London in 2014 but Americans spent much more.
Data from the Office for National Statistics shows that London had another record-breaking year with 17.4 million visitors. London accounts for half of all visits to the UK. The French have been the biggest visitor group since 2008. A little over 2 million French people came to London while just under 2 million Americans visited last year.
But when it comes to spending power visitors from the US continue to be the in a league of their own contributing £1.6 billion of the £11.8 billion that London earned from visitors last year. American visitors stay for longer than the French. American clocked up 13.3 million overnights compared to 8.6 million for French visitors.
According to the ONS, US visitors to the UK spend on average £113 per day when they are on holiday, but £100 a day more than that if they are on a business trip. Holidays remain the biggest reason for coming to London. 68% of visitors are tourists. Visiting friends and business trips are the other major reasons to come.
The largest rate of rise in visitors was from economically troubled Greece. Visitors increased by 40% to 155,000. Portugal, which has also had its share of financial woes, had a 39% rise in visitors to the London.
The ONS data is derived from the International Passenger Survey which is based on hundreds of thousands of face to face interviews with passengers at airports, seaports and the Eurostar terminal.