LONDON — The 16.8 million people who visited London in 2013 marks a new record for the destination and tops the previous record by more than a million people.
The 2013 tally represents a 9 percent increase from 2012, according to London & Partners, the official promotional organization for London. The previous high mark for visitors was 2006, when 15.6 million visitors passed through London.
London has seen its share of positive world news the past couple of years, including the 2012 Olympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. Tourism officials believe the major stories have helped attract visitors, who spent more than $18.8 billion — or £11.2 billion — during the year.
“London is continuing to build on its success and is offering world class exhibitions and attractions that people are prepared to travel from all corners of the globe to see,” Kit Malthouse, chairman of London & Partners, said in a statement.
“The wealth and breadth of the city’s cultural offering is incredible,” Malthouse added. “From exhibitions showcasing the greatest artists and the world’s most famous fictional detective, to spectacular river festivals — the city offers something for everyone, young and old.”
The British Museum, one of London’s more popular attractions, attracted more than 6.7 million visitors, making it their most successful year on record. Concurrently, The Historic Royal Palaces, which include the Tower of London and Kensington Palace, saw more than four million visitors for the first time.
“These record-breaking figures are a tribute to the outstanding mix of culture, art, music and sport to be found here and more is planned,” Mayor of London Boris Johnson said in a statement. “With major international sporting events including the Rugby World Cup and the Tour de France and spectacular exhibitions at the Tate and the British Museum this year, it is clear that this wonderful city will not rest on its laurels.”
Almost 33 million people visited Great Britain in 2013, a six percent increase over 2012. The spending and visitor numbers were part of the Office for National Statistics’ International Passenger Survey.