Key events provide visitor and spend boost to London tourism

London’s hosting of the 2012 Olympic Games and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations contributed to a healthy increase in visitors to the capital during 2012, reports 

New figures from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) show visitor numbers increasing year-on-year to reach 15.46 million. This is a rise of 1.1 per cent in comparison to 2011 – a reading which may have also been influenced by business trips to event spaces around the capital.

Meanwhile the expected displacement effect – a trend observed at past Games which sees locals and regular tourists replaced with Olympic visitors – appears to have been mitigated.

Although many would have expected the Olympics to have led to bigger rises, the increase was seen as positive considering the current economic downturn across the Eurozone. As reported by, two thirds of the visitors that flocked into London last year were from Europe.

A much more noticeable increase was found in visitor spend, which lifted by seven per cent from the previous year to reach £10.08 billion.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, commented: “2012 was an amazing year in which we had a string of golden opportunities to show the world why London is the best big city on earth.

“Now the task is to look forward and do everything we can to build on what we achieved last summer and deliver the lasting legacy that was at the heart of our Olympic bid.”

Mr Johnson said London was more than capable of continuing the trend in 2013, which will see the reopening of the Olympic Park and the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation among countless other events taking place around the capital.