London's business visitors increase

The number of business visitors attending meetings and events in London, increased by 5 per cent in the first three months of 2010, in comparison to the same period last year.

According to the International Passenger Survey, the rise is the first increase in business visitor figures since the second quarter of 2007. Overall, the number of visitors to the capital fell by 1 per cent during the first quarter, but this figure is partly a result of the severe weather conditions during the quarter, which led to travel problems both in and out of the UK.

The amount of money spent by business travellers was also up 21 per cent to almost £500 million for the same period, a figure that will be welcomed by those with meeting venues for hire in the city.

Most business passengers came from the United States with visitor numbers up 10 per cent and expenditure rising by 30 per cent. Visitors from France were up 33 per cent, from Spain 57 per cent and Germany 13 per cent.

Taking into account the number of holiday visitors, of which most were from France, the overall number of visitors to London for the quarter was 2.96 million.

Sally Chatterjee, the chief executive of Visit London told C&IT magazine: “London continues to be a focal point for global business, even in the face of challenging economic conditions.

“The jump in spending by business visitors is a reflection not just of returning confidence, but also of the unrivalled range of restaurants and attractions on offer in the capital,” she added.