2015 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.
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.
Visit Britain gathers the data on visitor numbers from the International Passenger Survey, which is based on thousands of face-to face interviews.