MasterCard has just released its annual travel study, the Global Destination Cities Index, ranking 132 destination cities around the world in terms of total international overnight visitor arrivals and cross-border spending.

According to this study, an estimated 18.82 million international visitors spending £13.15bn will visit London in 2015. London’s booming tourism industry is actually Britain’s eighth-biggest “exporter”, ahead of huge manufacturing sectors such as aerospace and chemicals.

The visitor total is up 6% on last year and puts London slightly ahead of second-placed Bangkok, with Paris third and fast-growing Dubai fourth. Here is the full top 10:

  1. London 18.82 million

  2. Bangkok 18.24 million

  3. Paris 16.06 million

  4. Dubai, UAE 14.26 million

  5. Istanbul 12.56 million

  6. New York 12.27 million

  7. Singapore 11.88 million

  8. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 11.12 million

  9. Seoul 10.35 million

  10. Hong Kong 8.66 million

This is the 5th year out of the last 7 that London has topped the list, falling into 2nd place below Bangkok in 2012 & 2013. The mayor of London, Boris Johnson, commented on the results of MasterCard’s study, stating “London’s unrivalled mix of history, culture, culinary gems and cutting-edge creativity, I’m confident that these accolades will keep coming as the capital continues to surprise and excite visitors from all over the world“.

New York is the biggest feeder city to the capital, supplying nearly 1m visitors to London, followed by Amsterdam, Dublin, Frankfurt and Stockholm. Tourism Minister Helen Grant attributed some of the American attraction to the capital to be a result of the stateside popularity of shows such as Downton Abbey and Sherlock Holmes (BBC).

According to the UN report on World Urbanization Prospects, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities by 2050. By forecasting the number of international overnight travellers, the Global Destination Cities Index shows the infrastructure needed to meet the expectations of both locals and visitors. Businesses and governments can use the insights from the study to identify those areas – from transit to cultural experiences to infrastructure – in which investment is needed for continued growth, innovation and sustainability (BusinessWire).

Among the appeals surrounding London are the city’s great museums with the British Museum and the National Gallery topping UK visitor attractions, which have held wildly popular exhibitions this year such as Matisse in the Tate Modern or Rembrandt at the national gallery.

The influx of global tourism is great news for Hotels and Restaurants across London, with total customer transactions increasing 7.1% in these categories in year-on-year comparisons (Real Business). For a business to remain competitive and receive its share of the £13bn visitor spend this year it is important to maintain excellent hygiene and health and safety standards, such as achieving a high FHRS score.

For enquiries and advice on achieving this, or for other information about this topic, please contact Food Alert on 020 7244 1900 or e-mail .






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