Having welcomed a record-breaking number of visitors last summer, London can now claim it is more popular than Paris.
London & Partners, the official promotional organisation for London, claimed that investment in the London 2012 Olympic Games would lead to a surge of international interest in the capital. A year after the Games, it seems it has been proven right. Figures released yesterday by the Office for National Statistics show that the city welcomed 4.9 million visitors between July and September 2013, an increase of almost 19.5 per cent on the same period in 2012.
The figures are a new record for London, not only surpassing the previous peak of 4.7 million visitors seen during that same period in 2006, but also beating the visitor numbers in all other popular city destinations around the world. Britons can now incontestably claim that their capital is more popular than Paris. When year-end figures are released, it is expected that the capital will have welcomed over 16 million overseas visitors in 2013, representing another record-breaking performance.
Visitors who came to London during last summer's heat wave might have witnessed spectacles such as Andy Murray's Wimbledon win and the celebrations that marked the birth of Prince George, or visited exhibitions including Life and Death Pompeii and Herculaneum at the British Museum or the V&A's David Bowie is, which attracted an audience of 312,000 people.
The Evening Standard reports that attractions such as the Tower of London, St Paul's Cathedral and the National Gallery also saw a surge in visitor numbers; spending by foreign visitors over the summer totalled £3.37 billion ($6.3 billion), an increase of approximately five per cent on spend over the Olympic period.
These incredible figures prove that London is without doubt the greatest city on the planet.
Seeking to maintain this level of success, London & Partners has launched a new video campaign, the London Story, which will see celebrities and locals detail what they most love about living in the capital. For Joanna Lumley, that includes exploring Holland Park and hearing the chimes of Big Ben from her Stockwell home; Gordon Ramsay expresses his fondness for the Royal Albert Bridge and the city's world-class restaurants; Mayor of London Boris Johnson recommends cycling and the pie and mash in a local pub.
Speaking about London's record-breaking tourism figures at the launch of the campaign, the mayor said: "With so many fascinating museums, the best theatre scene in the world, more green space than any other European city, numerous top sporting venues, a low crime rate and much else besides, it is no wonder that people from all over the globe are flocking to London in record numbers. These incredible figures prove that London is without doubt the greatest city on the planet."
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The Telegraph, London