The latest provisional figures from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) reveal that London welcomed 4.03 million visitors in quarter two of 2011 (April – June), representing an impressive year on year gain of 12.6%.
Visits from North America, London’s biggest in-bound market, were up by 8.6% and from Europe 10.4%. The upward trend continued from the rest of the world category, which showed an increase of 20.9%. In total these increases represented nearly 450,000 additional visitors in the three month period compared to 2010.
As a result, figures for the twelve months to June reveal a 9% increase in visits to the capital. Following the overall rise in 2010 (up 2.7%), and an increase of 4.6% in Q1 of 2011, these figures indicate a steady rise in London’s visitor growth.
Leisure visitors were the main driver of growth in Q2 at 14.1%, representing 2.2 million visits followed very closely by business visitors at 13.7%, with just shy of 770,000 visits.
Further to the unprecedented rise of VFR (visiting friends and relatives) visitors in the first quarter, the second quarter continued the strong momentum, with VFR visits at 6.7%.
Visitor expenditure revealed a marginal increase with Europe performing most strongly up 18% - meaning overall tourism receipts for the quarter were £2.27 billion.
Due to the shutdown of UK airspace in April 2010 the year on year figures maybe slightly flattering, however, it is thought that despite the 6 day airspace closure, there are still significant improvements in visitor numbers. The positive increase in Q2 builds on the previous quarter’s success, meaning the first six months of the year showed an 8.8% increase on 2010’s visitor numbers.
Boris Johnson, Mayor of London commented: “With first-class visitor attractions, top flight restaurants and bars, unparalleled shopping experiences and the growing buzz of the Olympic Games it is little wonder that London continues to dominate as one of the most desirable destinations in the world. 2012 is set to be a huge year for the capital and we stand ready to welcome the world."
Gordon Innes, CEO, London & Partners said: “We had lots to celebrate in London during this quarter, notably key one off events such as the Royal Wedding, and UEFA Champions League which both attracted hundreds of thousands visitors to the capital. Wimbledon, Chelsea Flower Show and other annual events can also be attributed to this impressive upturn. We look forward to seeing this upward trend continue for the rest of the year.”