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Five nerdy facts you probably didn’t know about London’s tourists

By
Isabelle Aron
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It might feel like tourists are everywhere in London, but how many are there, really? We crunched the numbers to find out.

1. Tourists spend a lot of cash

In 2016, tourists from the Middle East spent the most money, with £1,752 splashed per visit. Visitors from Qatar flashed the most cash, forking out £2,456. At the other end of the scale, visitors from Poland spent the least, with £292.93 per visit last year. But overall, tourists spent just under £12 billion in 2016 – so next time you’re moaning about them taking up too much space on the tube, just remember that they're probably keeping all our city’s institutions afloat.

2. Japan has fallen out of love with London...

London might be home to plenty of Japanophiles, but the feeling isn’t mutual. Between 2002 and 2016, the number of visitors from Japan fell by 39 percent. On the upside, the Argentinians love us, with a whopping 764 percent increase.

3. ... But the Yanks can’t get enough of this city 

Last year, nearly half of all visitors were from Western Europe. Never ones to be outdone, the highest number of tourists from a single country came from the USA, with 2.3 million visitors from across the pond.

4. Most visitors come to London for about a week

On average, most tourists stayed in London for about a week (or 7.7 nights, to be exact) in 2016. But Serbians spent the most time here, staying in London for an average of 20.9 nights per visit. Regionally, visitors from South Asia stayed the longest (16 days), compared to folks from Scandinavia, who prefer to keep things short and sweet with a four-day visit.

5. Tourists in London are on the rise

If you feel like there are more and more tourists in London these days, well... you’re right. And here are the stats to prove it. From 2002 to 2016, the total annual visits from overseas tourists increased by nearly 60 percent. No wonder it takes so long to walk down Oxford Street.

Stats: Office for National Statistics (ONS), International Passenger Survey (compiled by James Manning).

Here’s what happened when we asked tourists what they think of London.

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