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London Welcomed a Record Number of Tourists in 2013. Did Big Ben Trump the Eiffel Tower?

Travelers Today       By    Julekha Dash

Updated: Jan 24, 2014 09:01 AM EST

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Cue the Clash. London is calling a record number of travelers from around the world.

London's official tourism agency, London & Partners, estimates that the city drew a record 16 million overseas visitors last year, thanks in part to the huge PR boost it received by hosting the 2012 Olympics. According to the UK Office for National Statistics, the city hosted 12.8 million visitors during the first nine months of 2013, a 12 percent increase over the previous year. London's tourism boost reflects an overall upward trend across the UK, which saw an 8 percent increase in the number of international visitors between July and September 2013 compared with 2012. During the first nine months of 2013 there were 25 million international visits in the UK, an 11 percent increase over the previous year.

Although the figures are preliminary, at least one French newspaper has speculated that Big Ben and the London Eye have won over more travelers than the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. French newspaper Le Figaro declared "London Dethrones Paris." But since France has yet to release its official figures, the tourism boards for the two cities put out a joint press release declaring that both saw an increase in the number of international visitors last year.

"London & Partners released only UK specific data and did not draw any comparison with any other capital city or destination," the tourism agency said in a follow up news release.

That prompted Le Figaro to publish a follow up story with the headline "Paris and London Bury the Hatchet."

London for its part continues to capitalize on its record number of visitors. It enlisted famous Londoners to sing the city's praises in a new marketing campaign. Chef Gordon Ramsey, model Twiggy and actress Joanna Lumley talk about what makes their city so great in their personal "London Story" video.

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

Tags
travel, Great Britain, london, international destination, paris, tourists, Tourism, olympic
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