The rise in the number of visits represents an increase of 5.9 per cent measured against the same period in 2014. The capital has seen a 22.5 per cent increase in the number of international trips to the city from 2009-14.
The increase in visits to London is also reflected in figures showing the number of tourists to the UK. Between July and September last year the UK welcomed 10.5 million international visits, an increase of 4.7 per cent year-on-year.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson MP said: “London is the best big city on the planet. We really know how to roll out the red carpet and put on a show for the millions of visitors who flock here year after year. Only last week, Lumiere London, the city’s biggest-ever light festival, gave over a million people an unforgettable experience in the West End and King’s Cross. With another exciting programme of events planned this year, as well as our unbeatable cultural and other attractions, we are looking forward to welcoming even more tourists in the months ahead.”
London has also recorded a rise in the number of domestic visits to the city, with 9.3 million trips to London during the first nine months of 2015 - a 10 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2010. Such growth has contributed £2.25 billion to London’s economy, 29.9 per cent more compared to the same period in 2010.
The tourism industry is a major contributor to the London economy. Overall the sector contributes more than £36 billion to the capital and supports around 700,000 thousand jobs.
Gordon Innes, CEO of London & Partners, the Mayor’s official promotional company for the city said: “Today’s visitor numbers show that London is more attractive than ever. The tourism industry is a key pillar of the capital’s economy providing great employment opportunities, including many entry level jobs, for Londoners and investment right across the city. That’s why we work tirelessly with our partners, museums, attractions, hotels, restaurants and many more to ensure that London remains the destination city of choice for overseas visitors.”
The number of international visits to London has risen steadily over the last five years, with 2014 seeing a record-breaking 17.4 million trips to the capital, a trend which has been matched across the UK as a whole. VisitBritain, has forecast that the number of overseas visitors travelling to the UK in 2016 will increase again by 3.8 per cent to 36.7 million with those tourists spending almost £23 billion.
2016 is set to be another world-class year for the city, with a rich cultural calendar and numerous major festivities taking place across the capital. Highlights include the 40th anniversary of Punk, the Rolling Stones’ EXHIBITIONISM exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, a year-long programme celebrating the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, and a wealth of city-wide celebrations for HRH Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday.