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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

London top European tourist spot despite terror attacks

City saw 24 per cent increase in bookings from Europe and stayed the number one visitor destination for the second year

Tourists poses for selfie photographs outside Buckingham Palace in London. The UK capital was again the top pick in Europe for tourist arrivals. Simon Dawson/Reuters
Tourists poses for selfie photographs outside Buckingham Palace in London. The UK capital was again the top pick in Europe for tourist arrivals. Simon Dawson/Reuters

London was the number one destination for European tourists in 2017, a study showed on Tuesday, as the cheaper pound made it attractive to both domestic and foreign visitors despite a spate of militant attacks on the British capital this year.

London saw a 24 per cent increase in bookings from Europe and retained its position as the top visitor destination for the second year running.

“The fall in the value of the pound since the Brexit referendum in 2016 appears to have been a key driver of growth, as visitors to the UK can now get more for their money,” the eDreams Odigo European Traveller Insights 2017 report said.

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Sterling is down around 10 per cent since Britain voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, due to uncertainty over how the split from its biggest trading partner could affect growth prospects.

The fall in the value of the pound boosted the city’s appeal to British tourists too, with a rising appetite for staycations making it the number one destination for UK travellers. Last year, it ranked fourth among British tourists.

Terror attacks have targeted landmarks such as the parliament at Westminster this year, as well as revellers in the London Bridge area on a busy Saturday night. Tourists were caught up in both attacks, and the majority of the victims were foreign.

The data showed that other European cities which have been attacked by militants in recent years, such as Berlin and Paris, also saw bookings rise, by 10 per cent and 4 per cent, respectively.

“This data suggests that traveller numbers have remained resilient, with no signs of a significant long-term impact to the numbers visiting these major European cities for 2017,” the authors of the report said.

The report is based on European bookings made on eDreams Odigo’s online platform between January and September 2017.