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London mayor hails surge in tourism

In 2014, London welcomed a record-breaking 17.4 million international visitors, according to the Office for National Statistics’ International Passenger Survey (IPS). The survey shows a 3.5% increase in business and leisure stays from the previous year, where there were 16.8 million visitors. The number of visitors for business purposes reached 3.3 million. The recent surge of tourism has been beneficial to a number of businesses as visitors are spending more in the capital’s restaurants, hotels and attractions than ever before. London’s economy in 2014 was boosted by £11.8 billion compared to £11.5 billion in 2013, an increase of 3%. Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: “These terrific new figures confirm that record numbers of tourists are spending record amounts of dosh in our amazing city. Our status as the number one destination in the world is surely beyond any doubt, and with incredible attractions like the Rugby World Cup heading our way we look forward to welcoming many thousands more visitors to London.” Events taking place in London last year; London Technology Week, Advertising Week Europe, Soho Create and the European Society of Pathology’s congress (which enjoyed a 23 per cent increase in attendance compared to 2013) were major contributing factors to the record-breaking boost in visitors. From 29 August – 2 September this year, 35,000 medical professionals are expected in the city for the European Society of Cardiology’s annual congress. Gordon Innes, chief executive of London & Partners says: “London continues to attract record numbers of international visitors, injecting billions into the capital’s economy each year. London’s attractiveness as a business destination, its expertise within the technology, life sciences and financial sectors, combined with its rich heritage and world-leading cultural offer, is expected to attract many more millions from the UK and abroad, continuing the growth of international visitor numbers in 2015.” London is expecting a boost of up to 12,000 further hotel rooms during 2015 to meet increased demand within the city. A number of hotels and venues are due to open later this year including the InterContinental London - The O2, Hilton London Bankside, citizenM Tower of London, the Lanesborough, London KH Suite at Lodge Hotel in Putney and Brewer Street Car Park, which will host London Fashion Week from September onwards. Alexandra Palace’s Victorian Theatre in north London will soon be made available for events and will accommodate up to 1,300 people. David Gibbons, from Edwardian Group London, adds: “London is a booming world city with a tourism offer that is diversifying and improving year-on-year.”