London set for bumper summer as new stats reveal visitors flocking back to capital’s world renowned attractions

05 August 2023: London is roaring back after enjoying a 141 per cent rise in visitors in 2022 and flight bookings to London in April and May above 2019 levels.

Tourists and Londoners set to make the most of the capital’s renowned attractions this summer with the music and film industry already having enjoyed a hugely successful July.

Mayor’s Let’s Do London campaign helped encourage Londoners and visitors back to our city – bringing in an extra £346m and 850,000 more overnight visitors to the city.

London is set for a bumper summer with our world-renowned attractions helping the capital to roar back to life.

The capital is home to some of the greatest theatres, venues, galleries and museums in the world, and new figures show that they are helping to drive a huge return of visitors to London.

The latest figures show:

London’s attractions enjoyed a 141 per cent growth in visitors last year.1
International flight arrivals into London for April and May were well above the average for 2019, up 19 per cent in April and 15 per cent in May versus the same months in 2019.2
More than 2m more international arrivals are expected to come to London this year compared to last year, bringing an additional £674m to the capital.3
London was the top city in Europe for bed nights in 2022 with an increase of 131.5 per cent on 2021.4
This follows the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan’s Let’s Do London campaign – the biggest domestic and international tourism campaign the capital has ever seen – to encourage Londoners and visitors back to our city – bringing in an extra £346m and 850,000 more overnight visitors to the city.

London is roaring back from the impact of the pandemic, with the capital already enjoying a very successful summer.

At the start of July more than one million people attended live music shows in one week, while later in the month cinemas enjoyed the busiest weekend for ticket sales in four years with the much-anticipated premieres of Barbie and Oppenheimer.

Transport for London has also reported that almost 200m Elizabeth line journeys have taken place since opening in May 2022 – bringing a boost to entertainment venues, leisure and cultural hotspots across the capital.

Tourism has a big role to play in supporting the capital’s economy and international and domestic visitors can enjoy another fantastic summer in the city with a host of festivals, exhibitions and events taking place. The National Portrait Gallery and Young V&A opened in June following extensive refurbishments, while the Natural History Museum hosts the colossal titanosaur, one of the largest known creatures to have ever walked our planet, the Tower of London hosts the Coronation bench trail, and the Tate Modern has an exhibition of dynamic landscape of photography of the African continent.

This summer also includes the Notting Hill Carnival, one of the biggest and oldest street parties in the world, All Points East festival in Victoria Park in August with headliners Stormzy, The Strokes and Dermot Kennedy, London Fashion Week showcasing the best international and local talent in design and creativity in September, and widely acclaimed and Pulitzer Prize-winning meta-musical ‘A Strange Loop’ about a young, gay, Black writer, come to life at the Barbican.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Our capital is roaring back with tourists from around the world joining Londoners in enjoying all of the fantastic attractions on offer.

“Culture is at the heart of our city, and I’m delighted that our world-renowned theatres, venues, galleries and museums are helping to drive our recovery.

“There is so much to look forward to in our city this summer with a wide array of events, exhibitions and performances showing our incredible talent and diversity. There’s no doubt that London is the greatest city in the world – and I’ll continue working to build an even better and more prosperous city for everyone to enjoy.”

Bernard Donoghue OBE, Director of ALVA, said: “As Co-Chair of the London Tourism Recovery Board I saw at first-hand how tourism businesses in London, especially visitor attractions, benefited from the 'Let's Do London' domestic and international tourism campaign, and from the financial investment and leadership of the Mayor of London. Reminding people here in the UK, and those from our most important international markets, that not only was London open for business but that the city was brimming with events, shows, exhibitions, performances and festivals and making the explicit invitation that everyone was welcome, created the most effective and successful tourism recovery campaign in the UK. London has bounced back and these astonishing visitor figures for London's favourite attractions show that clearly.”

Natural History Museum Director of Public Programmes, Dr Alex Burch said: “The Natural History Museum is proud to be the UK’s most popular indoor attraction for the second year in a row, welcoming over 4.6 million visitors into our galleries in 2022 to connect with and take action for nature.

“We then welcomed one of our biggest exhibits yet, the star of our new exhibition and one of the biggest creatures that we know of to walk the Earth, Patagotitan mayorum. The buzz around Titanosaur: Life as the biggest dinosaur has been sensational and now over halfway into its run, visitors continue to get up close to this prehistoric beast, touching the cast and learning more about the giant animals we share the planet with today, and the need to protect them.”

Laura Citron, CEO of Visit London, the official visitor guide to London, said: “It’s been such a pleasure to see the streets of London very noticeably come back to life over the past year; flight bookings to London have reached post-pandemic highs. With major international events like the Coronation of King Charles III, the return of Major League Baseball to London and the UK’s biggest Pride, 2023 has already been a milestone year packed with new experiences for visitors to enjoy.

“As eagerness to travel is on the up, new flight and rail options are launched and travel restrictions ease in core international markets like China, London is set for a triumphant summer ahead. We are delighted to continue to see the impact of the Let's Do London campaign and the return of international visitors in our city throughout the rest of the year.”

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