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London offers best cultural experience of any city in the world, with US and UK visitors flocking to leading cultural attractions

Mayor Sadiq Khan declares #LondonIsOpen for culture and visitors

American and British tourists agree that London is best city in the world and vast majority of transatlantic visitors will return to the capital

London remains a top tourist destination and open to the world following the EU referendum vote, according to new research, with two thirds of US visitors pledging to return to the capital1.

Analysis carried out by London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s promotional company, shows that London’s booming tourism trade is set to continue post-Brexit, as two thirds of Americans who visited in the last two years said they will definitely return due to a more favourable exchange rate.

Meanwhile, 90 per cent of visitors to London from the US agree the capital’s cultural experiences are the best of any city in the world, with the capital’s iconic museums, galleries, attractions and West-End musicals key reasons for visiting.

Some 7.9 million American tourists have been drawn to the capital since 2012, the year the city hosted the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games2. Separate research released today confirms that London is open as a leading international destination with London’s top museums and galleries reporting an 11 per cent increase in visits from the US since 20123.

London received 31.5 million visits from all over the world in 2015 including 12.9 million tourists from Great Britain. Research from London & Partners shows that 80 per cent of British visitors who have travelled to the capital in the last two years, agree that London is the best city in the world for culture.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will tonight unveil an exciting programme of cultural exhibitions and events at the official launch of London’s Autumn Season at the Science Museum. Supported by the Government’s GREAT campaign, highlights over the coming months will include William Kentridge: Thick Time at the Whitechapel Gallery, London Fashion Weekend at the Saatchi Gallery, Twilight Tours at the Tower of London, Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery at the Science Museum, Michael Clark Company at the Barbican and The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection at the New Tate Modern.

Other Autumn Season highlights include Fire! Fire! at the Museum of London, You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-70 at the V&A, Picasso Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, Real to Reel: A Century of War Movies at the Imperial War Museum, Paul Nash at Tate Britain, South Africa: The Art of a Nation at the British Museum, Beyond Caravaggio at the National Gallery, Abstract Expressionism at the Royal Academy of Art and Rodin and Dance at the Courtauld Gallery.

Sadiq Khan said: “Our city’s world-class museums, galleries and exhibitions have firmly positioned London as one of the most welcoming and culturally rich cities to visit. Not only does our unique cultural scene make a substantial and vital contribution to our city’s economic prosperity, but I’m delighted to see that London’s creative sector plays such an important role in entertaining tourists from home and across the Atlantic.

“The many millions of visitors who come here time and time again are sending out a clear signal that London is truly open to everyone, and this is the message we will continue to send around the world.”

The highly-celebrated artist Sir Quentin Blake, best known for illustrating books written by Roald Dahl, will join the Mayor at the Autumn Season launch with an illustration to capture the #LondonIsOpen campaign. Sir Quentin commented: “Every morning I go to my London balcony and breathe in thousands of words and pictures, and then I start work.”

The research from London & Partners also reveals that taking tours of London’s famous film locations are big cultural pulls for visitors from both sides of the Atlantic, examples including King’s Cross station where Harry Potter’s Hogwarts Express departed, or iconic locations used in James Bond’s Skyfall, The Da Vinci Code and Hugh Grant’s Notting Hill. Visitors from Britain were particularly attracted to cultural events such as Stevie Wonder at Hyde Park, musicals like Wicked and the BFI Film Festival.

When asked about their ultimate London tour guide, British and American tourists were in agreement that Her Majesty the Queen would be their travelling companion of choice, closely followed by footballer David Beckham and singer Adele.

Tourists from the UK and abroad also say the night tube will encourage them to visit more late night events and exhibitions laid on by London’s world class museums and galleries, according to the research.

Nearly 50 percent of visitors to the city say they would definitely visit a late night exhibition if transport to take them home afterwards was available. And one in five tourists rate a visit to a late night event in the top three things they want to experience in the city.

Many museums and galleries already run late night events, often during the week until about 10pm and some exhibitions are so popular, such as Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty at the V&A, that cultural institutions open their doors late to deal with demand.

Gordon Innes, CEO London & Partners, said: “From the Queen to Adele, Tower Bridge to The Shard, and Picasso to Sir Elton John, London offers one of the most diverse and stimulating cultural experiences of any city in the world.

“With so many new museum openings this year, a stunning array of world class exhibitions and events, the ability to travel 24 hours on the night tube and the city offering better value than ever for international visitors – there has never been a more exciting time to come to London.”

Working with London poet and musician LA Salami, London & Partners has also produced a short film aiming to capture the spirit of the 2016 Autumn Season programme of events – which can be viewed here

Notes to Editors

High res images from the launch of London’s Autumn Season can be downloaded from 20.45 tonight at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/97p3azz5ac7lsm3/AACbgBXZ2FPI2QhrxcvkcFhZa?dl=0

 

High res images of LA Salami and a selection of London’s autumn highlights can be found at https://www.dropbox.com/sh/fo76rzwoc5dxltk/AACJslOIIk10t_TIC9jSVzHMa?dl=0

1The poll was carried out by TCI Research, an UNWTO accredited company, on behalf of London & Partners.

British results are based on a representative sample of 512 respondents from the UK, men and women, aged from 18 to 65, who have visited London at least once over the past two years. Data was collected by TCI Research using online Access Panel, end of July 2016.

American results are based on a representative sample of 509 respondents from the USA, men and women, aged from 18 to 65, who have visited London at least once over the past two years. Data was collected by TCI Research using online Access Panel, end of July 2016.

 

UK visitors’ ‘bucket list’ experiences in London

1

Afternoon tea at the Ritz or similar hotel

2

See a musical

3

Visit Buckingham Palace

4

Visit Tower of London

5

View from glass floor at Tower Bridge

6

Famous Film locations

7

Visit a London Park

8

Visit Houses of Parliament

9

Have a pint at a traditional London pub

10

Eat a curry on London’s famous Brick Lane

11

Sleep over at a museum

12

Take a ride on a red double decker bus

13

Enjoy a classical concert

14

Go see an opera

15

Take a black cab ride

 

UK visitors’ ultimate London Tour Guides

1

The Queen

2

Adele

2

David Beckham

4

William Shakespeare

5

Michael Caine

6

James Corden

7

Mr Bean

8

David Bowie

9

Charles Dickens

10

Another member of Royal Family

11

Gordon Ramsay

12

Samuel Pepys

13

Kate Moss

14

Margaret Thatcher

 

American visitors’ ‘bucket list’ experiences in London

1

Visit Buckingham Palace

2

Visit Tower of London

3

Famous film locations

4

Visit a traditional London pub for a pint

5

View from glass floor at Tower Bridge

6

Afternoon tea at the Ritz or similar hotel

7

Visit a London Park

8

Visit Houses of Parliament

9

See a musical

10

Eat a curry on London’s brick lane

10

Take a ride on a double decker bus

12

See an opera

13

Sleep over at a museum

14

Take a black cab

15

Enjoy a classical concert

 

American visitors’ ultimate London Tour Guides

1

The Queen

2

Another member of the Royal Family - past or present

3

Adele

4

David Beckham

5

Michael Caine

6

William Shakespeare

7

Mr Bean

8

David Bowie

9

Gordon Ramsay

10

James Corden

11

Kate Moss

12

Charles Dickens

13

Margaret Thatcher

14

Samuel Pepys

 

 

2 International Passenger Survey Data from the ONS

 

3 Visitor data supplied by Morris Hargreaves McIntyre.

 

Morris Hargreaves McIntyre (MHM)

Morris Hargreaves McIntyre is a strategic research consultancy working within the culture, heritage, leisure, media and charities sector. MHM’s clients include some of the world’s leading museums, galleries and theatres as well as heritage bodies and charities.  Clients include British Museum, National Trust, Southbank Centre and Tate.

 

Methodology

Morris Hargreaves McIntyre (MHM) data is based on approximately 14,000 face-to-face annual visitor exit surveys undertaken at the following venues: IWM London; Natural History Museum; National Gallery; Tate Modern; Tate Britain; V&A, Museum of Childhood; National Portrait Gallery; British Museum; Science Museum; Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands.

 

About #LondonIsOpen

#LondonIsOpen will show the world that London remains entrepreneurial, international, and full of creativity and possibility, while reassuring the more than one million foreign nationals who live in London that they will always be welcome, and that any form of discrimination will not be tolerated.

The Mayor is urging all Londoners, organisations and businesses to show their support for the #LondonIsOpen message via social media, through other creative ways.

For more information visit: www.londonisopen.com

 

About Autumn Season

London & Partners and the Mayor of London are launching London’s Autumn Season of Culture. Now in its third year, London’s Autumn Season is a campaign designed to cement the city’s reputation as the artistic and creative capital of the world.

 

New Openings

This Autumn Season sees probably the biggest expansion of cultural venues in London in decades, with the opening of new iconic venues designed by world-class architects: the Tate Modern extension, the new Design Museum in Kensington (re-opens 24th November) and a new interactive and Mathematics Gallery at the Science Museum (opens 8th December) which was the late London-based architect Dame Zaha Hadid’s, last project.

 

Festivals and Fashion Hit the City

The city comes alive with festivals, from the London Design Festival (17th – 25th September), London Film Festival, (5th – 16th October) and the London Jazz Festival (11th – 20th November) – which spans tens of events across the city.  The best of British Fashion makes its debut at London Fashion Week in September, and Londoners can get involved in London Fashion Weekend (16th-20th September).  In the same month we celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London with an impressive festival of events in the City of London and an exhibition at the Museum of London. And in November, The Streets festival will take renowned jazz artists to outer boroughs where they will perform pop-up gigs in unexpected venues.

 

Museums and Galleries Open their Doors to the Masters

This autumn, there’s an opportunity to revisit the great masters in one city – Picasso’s works can be found at the National Portrait Gallery, (opens 6th October – 5th February 2017) you can delve into Abstract Expressionism with Rothko, Pollock, De Kooning at the Royal Academy, (opens 24th September – 2nd January 2017) and explore Caravaggio and his influence at the National Gallery, (12th October – 15th January 2017).

 

Performances Come Alive

Hollywood actors take to the West End stage, from Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart to Kenneth Branagh and Dominic Cooper. New musicals transfer from Broadway including School of Rock, (24th October – 27th February 2017) and Dream Girls (19th November – 11th March 2017), both based on blockbuster films. Not to be missed dance shows include Olympics choreographer Akram Khan working with the English National Ballet (Giselle: 15th-19th November) and Royal Ballet star Carlos Acosta. At the Southbank Centre, guests will be treated to an eclectic performance programme including a 360-degree virtual reality experience with the Philharmonia Orchestra (23 Sept-2 Oct) and the London Literature Festival on 5 - 16 October 2016.

 

About TCI Research

Results are based on a representative sample of 512 respondents from the UK, men and women, aged from 18 to 65, who have visited London at least once over the past two years. Data was collected by TCI Research using online Access Panel, end of July 2016. TCI Research (Tourism Competitive Intelligence) is a research agency leading in destination competitive analysis, UNWTO-awarded for its reference TRAVELSAT© global program. TCI research provides public and private players of the visitor economy with insights combining representative surveys with controlled Big Data targeted analysis covering the whole visitor experience, from inspiration to sharing.

More information: www.tci-research.com

 

About London & Partners

London & Partners is the official promotional company for London. We promote London and attract businesses, events, congresses, students and visitors to the capital. Our aims are to build London’s international reputation and to attract investment and visitor spend, which create jobs and growth. London & Partners is a not-for-profit public private partnership, funded by the Mayor of London and our network of commercial partners.

For more information visit www.londonandpartners.com   

Contact

London & Partners Media & PR Team

Tel: +44 (0)20 7234 5710

Switch: +44 (0)20 7234 5800

press@londonandpartners.com 

Twitter: @London_PR