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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Science Museum

London’s Science Museum…much searched, often found

Measuring popularity by the number of Google searches has become a pretty regular metric. A quick glance at Google Trends top chart will tell you that Pharrell Williams is more popular than Benedict Cumberbatch, more of us want to make chocolate cake than carrot cake, and the thing we most want to know how to do is to draw.

The latest top 5 in the Google league tells us that museums and galleries in London are the most searched in the world. According to London & Partners, the Mayor’s official promotional company, the Google museum search list has London institutions at 1,2, and 3.

  1. Science Museum, London
  2. Natural History Museum, London
  3. British Museum, London
  4. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
  5. Smithsonian Museum, Washington DC

London and Partners caution that Google’s methodology means that the results may vary day to day and the Science Museum comes top “on average”.

Perhaps more telling therefore is not how many people search the museum name on Google but how many people come to visit.

According to London and Partners a visitor survey conducted through 15,000 face to face interviews at 13 museums and galleries by research company Morris Hargreaves McIntyre concluded that they received 17.9 million overseas visitors in 2014 and 2015 out of a total visitor number of 31.5 million. That’s 57% of visitors, and an increase of 19% over the past 4 years.

French and American tourists were the most frequent, in line with figures for London visitor numbers, as reported by Urbs. Along with people from Italy, Spain and Germany they accounted for 9.7 million of the 17.9 million overseas museum visitors, according to the survey.

Source data

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Good news for tourists and Londoners as city dominates for visitor attractions

French biggest group of visitors but Americans spend most

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French biggest group of visitors but Americans spend most

© Deymos | Dreamstime.com

Photo: © Deymos | Dreamstime.com

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.

Visitor numbers

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.

visitor spending

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.

Source data

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London ranked as top global city destination

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London ranked as top global city destination

dreamstime_s_42553126

London has been ranked as the world’s top destination for international visitors with an estimated 18.82 million people expected to stay overnight in the city in 2015. London has topped the rankings carried out by Mastercard as part of its Global Cities Destination Index for 5 of the past 7 years.

The index looks at how 132 of the world’s most important cities are connected by air travel, him many international visitors they receive and the amount those visitors spend. Visitor numbers are based on data from governments and tourist boards and the role of some cities, like London, as a flight hub is factored in.

London remains slightly ahead of Bangkok, with global city rivals Paris and New York also in the top 10.

International visitors

The top feeder city for visitors to London is New York, accounting for nearly 1 million people. Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt and Stockholm, make up the top 5, but London has a very diversified source of visitors with 50% coming from 26 different cities. In comparison, 50% of Bangkok’s visitors come from just 13 cities.

London tops the list for spending by international visitors. Mastercard estimates that this will be a little over $20 billion in 2015, that’s 16% above its nearest rival in the spending league, New York.

And London also heads the index as the world’s leading flight hub. Mastercard looked at connectivity and the frequency of non-stop flights to international destinations scoring London ahead of Paris, Dubai, Frankfurt and Istanbul.

Source data

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