Half of all visits by overseas travellers to the UK in 2014 spent time in London, according to new figures from the Office for National Statistics International Passenger Survey (IPS).
A total of 34.4 million visits were undertaken to the UK last year, up 5.2% on 2013 figures.
However, average spend per visit to the UK in total was down from £650 in 2013 to £636 last year.
In London, 17.4 million visits were recorded, up 3.5% from 16.8 million visits in 2013. The number of visitors boosted the capital's economy by £11.8b, compared with £11.5b spent in 2013 (up 3%).
Visitor numbers to both London and the wider UK were the highest since records began.
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."
Latest video from The Caterer