London remained the number one city destination in the world for international travel in 2007, official figures have revealed.
The provisional statistics, published by the Office for National Statistics, show that there was a record 16.1 million overseas visitors to the capital last year, up nearly 3% on 2006. The total number of visitors to the capital in 2007 was 26.2 million.
Total spending by overseas visitors was £8.7b, up 11.2% on 2006 with total spend, excluding day visits, reaching a record £10.9b, up 8%.
In his first quotes on tourism since becoming Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: "Tourism is one of London's success stories and translates directly into jobs and income for Londoners. Record overseas tourist numbers demonstrate the impact of London on the world stage and I am delighted with these results."
Visit London chief executive James Bidwell added: "Tourism is worth around £15b a year to London and with 280,000 full time jobs our industry is a key economic driver for the capital.
"This is particularly encouraging in the lead up to 2012 when the tourism and cultural sectors will be the primary economic beneficiaries of the Games."
In contrast, domestic tourism to London fell last year, down 7.5% to 10.1 million visits. This mirrored results across the UK which saw overall domestic visitor numbers fall by 2% in 2007.
By Daniel Thomas
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