London welcomed an additional 1.3 million visitors last year, bringing in £600 million to the capital's economy.
The latest International Passenger Survey reveals that overseas visits to London increased by 9.4 per cent, which increased the total number to an impressive 15.2 million. Spending in London increased from £6.9 billion in 2005 to a staggering £7.5 billion last year.
This allowed London to boost its global share of international tourism from 1.7 per cent to 1.8 per cent, banishing fears that security alerts had permanently damaged its reputation.
London saw an 11.6 per cent increase in the number of European tourists last year and a 5.2 per cent increase in the number of passengers flying over from the US. At £1.5 billion, spending from US visitors was particularly impressive, topping a record achieved in 2000.
Visit London chief executive James Bidwell said: "London remains the number one city destination in the world and the latest visitor numbers confirm this. Importantly, we have increased our worldwide share of international visitor numbers.
"Tourism is worth around £15 billion a year to the London economy and sustained increases over time result in an increase in the number of jobs created for the economy. This is particularly encouraging in the lead up to 2012 when the tourism and cultural industries will be amongst the main economic beneficiaries from the Games."
Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, suggested that London will also benefit from the arrival of major sporting events this year. The Tour de France will get started in the capital in the summer and London will also host its first NFL American football game. Reflecting the growing interest from US tourists, five US radio stations are this week broadcasting from the London Eye. Visit London has also launched a comprehensive campaign in North America to cement existing ties.
Central to London's reputation as a tourism hotspot is the quality of the Tube and Mr Livingstone has today unveiled plans to instigate major improvements in the months ahead.
"The Tube has been starved of investment for many decades and it is vital that we move ahead with the next phase of improvement work to ensure we have an Underground system that can keep London moving and secure the capital's future prosperity and growth."
He has warned Londoners, however, that the work can not be completed without a certain level of disruption. Much of this, he insisted, will take place in the evenings and at weekends.
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