London remains a top international destination, according to new research, as London’s leading museums and galleries have seen an 11 per cent increase in visits from overseas since 2012.
International tourists have increasingly been drawn to the UK capital by the city’s world class free museums, galleries, and major exhibitions since 2012, the year the city hosted the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and now account for three fifths of all visits to London’s top cultural attractions.
Last year overseas visitors made 18.7 million visits to the city’s best known cultural institutions, which is 1.8 million more than in 2012, according to the research released to highlight London’s Autumn Season of new cultural exhibitions and events.
Tonight at London’s Science Museum, Mayor Sadiq Khan will officially launch London’s Autumn Season of cultural exhibitions and events, supported by the British Government’s GREAT campaign, which aims to promote the UK internationally.
Sadiq Khan said: “Our city’s world-class museums, galleries and exhibitions have firmly positioned London as one of the most welcoming and culturally rich cities to visit. Not only does our unique cultural scene make a substantial and vital contribution to our city’s economic prosperity, but I’m delighted to see that London’s creative sector plays such an important role in entertaining tourists from home and across the world.
“The many millions of visitors who come here time and time again are sending out a clear signal that London is truly open to everyone, and this is the message we will continue to send around the world.”
Gordon Innes, CEO London & Partners, said: “London offers one of the most diverse and stimulating cultural experiences of any city in the world.
“With so many new museum openings this year, a stunning array of world class exhibitions and events, the ability to travel 24 hours on the night tube and the city offering better value than ever for international visitors – there has never been a more exciting time to come to London.”
Working with London poet and musician LA Salami, London & Partners has also produced a short film aiming to capture the spirit of the 2016 Autumn Season programme of events – which can be viewed below.
Highlight events of London’s Autumn Season include William Kentridge: Thick Time at the Whitechapel Gallery, London Fashion Weekend at the Saatchi Gallery, Twilight Tours at the Tower of London, Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery at the Science Museum, Michael Clarke Company at the Barbican and The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection at the New Tate Modern.
The artist Sir Quentin Blake, who will appear alongside the Mayor at the launch of the Autumn Season, and will produce an illustration to capture the #LondonIsOpen campaign, added: “Every morning I go to my London balcony and breathe in thousands of words and pictures, and then I start work.”