London is looking good this week as new numbers indicate that the city broke visitor records in 2013. To maintain the momentum, a new video campaign is in the works that celebrates the city from a local's perspective.
The latest set of tourism figures from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) found that a record number of tourists visited London last summer. While the full numbers for December have not yet been tallied, the city is on course to receive more 16 million overseas visitors in one year, which would set a new record.
The 2012 Olympic games highlighted London and other areas of Britain, and recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for July-September 2013 show that a record 4.9 million people visited the city. For the first nine months of 2013 London welcomed 12.8 million visitors, an increase of 12 per cent compared to 2012.
International visitors also spent over £3.37 billion on shopping, hotels, restaurants and visiting attractions during the summer, up five percent compared to the same time last year.
Across the UK, provisional estimates report an eight percent increase in overseas visits between July and September, and in the first nine months of 2013 there were nearly 25 million international visits to the UK, up 11 percent year-over-year.
As of late last week, Britain was on target to see a yearly figure of £20 billion in visitor spending, a record for the country. The Office of National Statistics, counting the 11 months from January to November 2013, reported full-year, 12 month records broken for:
· Spend (£19.3 billion v. £18.6 billion in 2012)
· Holiday visits (12.02 million v. 12.01 million in 2011)
· Rest of World visits (4.86 million v. 4.74 million in 2012)
To drive more visits to London, VisitLondon.com has launched a new campaign that focuses less on the tourist attractions but on the people who live here, with tips on how to experience the city like a local. Chef Gordon Ramsay talks about the Royal Albert Bridge, actress Joanna Lumley praises quiet duck ponds and Mayor Boris Johnson celebrates local pubs. Other celebrities (think Twiggy) and locals alike are also sharing their insights in the video series, which can be used to encourage visitors to go off the beaten track.