UK Economy
Overseas visits to London in 2013, up 43.5% in 10 years
By Finfacts Team
May 12, 2014 - 3:34 PM

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Table 1: Top 10 visitors to London over last 10 years (numbers in thousands)

  2003     2013
USA 2,234    1 USA 1,884
France 1,191    2 France 1,873
Germany 892    3 Germany 1,338
Irish Republic 624    4 Italy 1,091
Netherlands 619    5 Spain 843
Italy 601    6 Netherlands 696
Spain 527    7 Australia 696
Australia 451    8 Irish Republic 619
Canada 317    9 Belgium 533
10  Sweden  308    10 Sweden 523

Table source: Office for National Statistics

The latest ONS (Office for National Statistics) data shows the highest recorded number of overseas visits to the UK since 1961. There were 32,813,000 visits to the UK in 2013, a 5.6% increase since 2012. Over the same year, spending by overseas visitors increased by 12.7% to £21,012m. The number of visits to London in 2013 was the highest since 1961, with half of all visitors to the UK visiting London. There were 16.8m overseas visitors to London in 2013 and they spent £11,256m.

Increase in visits to London over the last 10 years

A total of 16.8m overseas visitors visited London during their visit to the UK in 2013. This was the highest recorded number of overseas visitors since 1961. The proportion of all overseas visitors to the UK who visit London has been increasing steadily over the last ten years, from 47.3% in 2003 to 51.2% in 2013.

Two-thirds of visitors from North America and other countries outside of Europe visited London during their visit to the UK in 2013 (65.8% and 67.1% respectively). Just under half (48.6%) of European visitors to the UK visited London in 2013. Half of all overseas visitors visiting London were on holiday. Over the last ten years, the number of overseas visitors visiting London for a holiday has increased from 4.9m in 2003 to 8.5m in 2013 (71.9%). Over the same period business visits have increased by 18.5% and visits to friends and family increased by 34.8%.

Over the last 10 years the top 10 countries of residence for overseas visitors to London have remained fairly constant. In both 2003 and 2013 visitors from the United States of America, France and Germany were the top three visiting countries.

New York City saw nearly 53m visitors in 2012, but only 10.9m were from foreign countries.

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