London tourism growth slowed by Paris attacks, migrant crisis

Tourism growth slowed to 1.6 per cent at leading sites in London last year as the Paris terrorist attacks and the European migrant crisis hit attractions in the capital and nearby areas, an industry group said on Monday.

Visits to London's second-most popular attraction, the National Gallery, fell by 8 per cent to 5.9 million, while the number of visits to both the Southbank Centre and the Tate Modern dropped by nearly 20 per cent, said the London-based Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA).

"2015 continued to be a record year mainly due to our members continuing to show how diverse the UK is to both domestic and overseas visitors," said Bernard Donoghue, ALVA's director.

"However, anecdotally, our members told us that the poor weather had had an affect, and our members in the South East did see a decrease during Operation Stack in Kent as well as following the Paris attacks," Donaghue said.

During Operation Stack, police introduced traffic filtering and queueing to allow searches of vehicles arriving in south-eastern England from European ports.

London's British Museum remained top of ALVA's 230 leading British attractions last year, recording a rise of 2 per cent to 6.8 million visitors, accounting more than 10 per cent of the 65 million tourists visiting the capital's top attractions.

Donaghue said he expected the pound's weakness against the euro to make Britain "a more affordable destination" for tourists this year.

Airlines operating in Britain also said passenger bookings were hit by the November 13 attacks in Paris, which left 130 dead after gunmen and suicide bombers targeted a concert hall, a major stadium, restaurants and bars.

Last update: Mon, 07/03/2016 - 14:24
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