Visitor numbers and spending for 2015 on track for record-breaking year

London Eye pod-22015 is shaping up to be a very strong year for tourism in London. The latest data from Visit Britain shows a record number of visitors for the first six months of the year and record levels of spending.

There were 17.7 million visitors in the 12 months to the end of June, the highest ever total for a 12-month period. But visitors are not staying as long. The number of nights per visit has fallen to an average of 5.3, down from 6.2 per visit in 2014.

The French continue to be the most frequent visitors, as they have been since 2008. In the first 6 months of 2015 there were 1.1 million visitors from France. At that rate the figure of just over 2 million for 2104 will be surpassed.

January to June 2015 also saw 950,000 visitors from the USA and significant numbers from Germany, Spain and Italy.

Overseas visitor country-2

The French may be more frequent visitors, but the Americans stay longer. They clocked up more than 5 million overnight stays or 5.5 per visitor in the first 6 months of 2015. The average stay for French visitors is 3.7 nights.

Staying longer also means spending more. While visitors from France spend £371, those from the USA spend £827. Overseas visitors contribute four fifths of all tourist spending in London. In 2014 the capital raked in £11.8 billion.

Overseas visitor spend-2

Visit Britain gathers the data on visitor numbers from the International Passenger Survey, which is based on thousands of face-to face interviews.

Source data

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The way we spend our cash – more rent, less alcohol, healthier eating

Credit card payment-2The average family in London spends £616.30 per week, £100 more than the national average, and most of the extra money is spent paying housing costs.

The data for household spending from the Office for National Statistics gives an insight in how households live based upon their spending patterns.

Rent is biggest bill each week for London households costing an average of £96.30 before any benefits are taken into account. That’s double the next nearest region, the South East, and 3 times more than households are paying in Scotland.

Households are spending £67.20 a week on transport, but the way that money is spent is different to the rest of the country. As a big city with a bus, tube and rail network London has the lowest level of spending on running a car and the highest on public transport.

The weekly food bill is £63.20 and reveals our eating habits. Households spent £2.90 on chicken compared to £1.80 on beef. And Londoners spend £3.60 a week on fish, more than any other region.

London households appear more health conscious, as they are the only ones in the UK to spend more on fresh fruit (£4.20) than on cakes and biscuits (£3.60).

They also spend less on alcohol and cigarettes. The average household drinks £7.30 worth of alcohol at home, lower than every region except the West Midland, and only the South West is spending less on smoking.

But while Londoners are saving something on booze at home their bar bills are the among the highest in the country. Average weekly spending on alcohol consumed away from home was £9.50, and eating out accounts for £21 per week.

Gambling appears less popular in London than elsewhere in the country. The average household bets £2.00 a week, the lowest of any region. Londoners spend more on books than anyone else, £1.80 a week, or enough to buy a paperback once a month.

Londoners spend £12.60 per household each week on pampering themselves with visits to the hairdresser, toiletries and hair and beauty products. Women spend £9.60 per week or £499.20 a year on clothing, 25% more than men.

Household spending


The ONS uses data from 2012-2104 to calculate regional averages.

Source data

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