London retains crown as world's top city for tourists


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The Independent Online

London is riding a wave of tourism this year thanks to a summer of celebration and has been crowned the world's top destination city for a second year running, according to a new report.

With the Queen's Diamond Jubilee festivities just gone and the Olympics on the horizon, visitor numbers are set to rise by 1.1 per cent.

And visitor spending is set to increase by 10.3 per cent, despite the continuing tough economic conditions, according to the MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index 2012.

The city is also expected to attract the highest international visitor spend, ahead of New York, Bangkok, Paris and Singapore. Visitors to London are predicted to spend more on average per head than visitors to the top 20 cities listed by visitor numbers.

The report, published for a second successive year, analyses both visitor traffic and cross-border travel spend in 132 cities around the globe and is written by Dr Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard Worldwide.

The top five cities expected to send visitors to London are Dublin, New York, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Frankfurt, with hundreds of thousands of tourists from the Irish capital predicted to spend $482m (£311m).

The big increase will come from Frankfurt with visitor numbers set to increase by 20.8 per cent, to 416,000 across the year.

Visitors from New York are set to spend the most, with an expenditure of $1,088m (£710m) according to the report.

This is predicted to be reciprocated by the Londoners who visit the American city, with visitors from the capital outspending the other four of the top five cities.

Marion King, President of MasterCard UK and Ireland, said: "London is a true world beater and offers something for everyone, which is why people keep coming back."

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said the award was recognition of a city with a huge amount to offer.