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London 'loses long-haul travellers'

Published 24/05/2015

Figures show a dip in long-haul visitors to London
Figures show a dip in long-haul visitors to London

London is losing its appeal for long-haul travellers, according to a report.

While long-haul travel to major European cities so far this year (January to April) is up 3.9%, London is down 3.7%, an analysis of bookings by travel-pattern monitoring company ForwardKeys shows.

And while long-haul forward bookings for the period May-August 2015 are up 3.7% for major European cities, they are down 1.8% for London.

ForwardKeys co-founder and chief executive Olivier Jager said travel to London from three important markets - the United States, Australia and China - was down 4%.

But London is still the leading European city for long-haul travellers, with a 14% share of the market.

The figures showed that for the year so far Munich has had a 15.3% growth in long-haul travel while Milan, Barcelona and Amsterdam have all experienced double-digit growth.

Amsterdam (up 13.2%) and Milan (up 10.9%) have the biggest growth in May-August 2015 forward bookings, but Paris is 1.3% down.

Mr Jager said: "These numbers must be a worry for London as it would expect to be the highlight of a long haul trip to Europe and when Europe grows London should grow with it, not fall behind."

The ForwardKeys analysis follows last week's Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures, covering all visits to the UK by overseas travellers.

They showed that spending by overseas residents, which reached record levels last year, is slowing down this year, being 10% lower in the first three months of 2015 than in the same period last year.

Also last week the ONS published travel trends which revealed that a record 17.4 million overnight visits to London were made by overseas residents in 2014, an increase of 3.5% from 2013, with £11.8 billion being spent during last year's visits to the UK capital.

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