Only one city in the world gets more tourists than London

from Tour Expi – Jan 31, 2016

The UK capital is the second most visited city in the world, according to Euromonitor, but one resilient residence pips it to the post

Only one city in the world gets more tourists than London

London has grown its tourist count to become the second most visited city in the world, overtaking Bangkok and Singapore.

However, the British capital could not catch up with Hong Kong, which is the world’s most popular city destination for the sixth consecutive year, according to Euromonitor International.

“With London airports nearing capacity, the capital risks losing out to European rivals.”  Wouter Geerts, Euromonitor

Almost 17.4m people visited London in 2014, a 3.6pc increase on the year before, while the number of tourists to Hong Kong jumped 8.2pc to 27.8m.

Singapore, Bangkok and Paris rounded out the top five despite receiving fewer travellers than in 2013, marking declines of 0.4pc, 7pc and 1.9pc respectively.

Rio de Janeiro was the biggest climber, attracting 47pc more travellers than the year before as sports fans flocked to Brazil for the FIFA World Cup – an increase that could be seen again this year with the Rio Olympics.

Visitors to Rio increased by almost half thanks to the FIFA World Cup

Athens grew by 29.4pc, entering the top 100 along with two other Greek cities and taking Greece to an all-time high in international arrivals.

However, geopolitical tensions took their toll elsewhere in Europe, with St Petersburg and Moscow marking double-digit declines and Kiev falling out of the index altogether.

Biggest climbers

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil +46.6pc

Cancún, Mexico +42.1pc

Agra, India +31.5pc

Taichung, Taiwan +30pc

Hanoi, Vietnam +29.9pc

Despite London’s high position on the ranking, it was the only UK city to make the list of the 100 most visited cities.

Revenue from inbound tourism grew 30pc between 2008 and 2014, according to the Tourism Alliance, generating £24bn for the UK economy.

However, Euromonitor warned that the British capital could lose its hold on the global tourist market if airport capacity is not increased

“It is no exaggeration to say that tourism has been at the forefront of the UK’s economic recovery since the start of the global financial crisis.”

The Government recently delayed its decision about a third runway at Heathrow – which was used by almost 75m passengers last year, 2.2pc more than the year before – until this summer, after the Airports Commission failed to support Gatwick’s bid for expansion.

“London is one of the most iconic cities in the world. The resounding success of the London Olympics in 2012 has boosted visibility and popularity even further,” said Wouter Geerts, travel analyst at Euromonitor.

“However, with London airports nearing capacity, the capital risks losing out to European rivals. To remain competitive in the international city destinations landscape, ensuring connectivity and innovation is key.”

These are the most visited cities in the world

  1. Hong Kong
  1. London
  1. Singapore
  1. Bangkok
  1. Paris
  1. Macau
  1. Shenzhen
  1. New York City
  1. Istanbul
  1. Kuala Lumpur