'London' favourite tourist destination for Indians: Boris Johnson


London, described as world's most visited city has become a favourite tourist attraction for Indians as visitors from the country grew by nearly 28 per cent from last year, Mayor of London Boris Johnson has said.

According to figures from the Mayor's official tourism and investment agency, London & Partners, the number of Indian tourists is now at a five year high, with 145,000 visitors in the first half of 2012 - up 28 per cent from 113,000 in the

same period last year.

Over the last three years, visitor numbers from India and the wider Asia region have risen dramatically, with spend from Asia now accounting for almost 10 per cent of total tourism expenditure.

The Mayor outlined what makes London the best big city in Europe both to invest in and visit, a statement from his office here said.

"London's boundless opportunities, both as a vibrant international destination and a phenomenally well-connected business and investment hub, are ripe and plentiful -

especially for surging emerging economies like India's," Johnson said.

"As well as wooing record numbers of tourists from India, London is also attracting leading Indian firms in the leisure and hospitality sector, creating jobs and growth for the capital," he said.

London, which is now a key location for India's expanding leisure businesses seeking an international platform, since the significant business and leisure travel into the capital has led to hotel occupancy levels consistently over 80 per cent for the last five years.

The figures which were announced as two of India's top hospitality firms confirmed they are significantly increasing their investment in London.

Leading hotel operator Lalit Suri Hospitality today announced that it had acquired the heritage building, St Olave's, near Tower Bridge for 15 million pounds.

And the Bird Group, one of the largest diversified business conglomerates in India, invested in the purchase of the Royal Park hotel near Hyde Park early last year and have since upgraded it from a 4 star to a 5 star establishment.

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