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London overtaking Paris as most-visited city

London overtaking Paris as most-visited city
21 Jan 2014

London looks set to overthrow Paris as the world's most-visited city, after a huge surge in arrivals in 2013. 

In the first nine months of last year, the capital welcomed 12.8m tourists - a 12% increase on the same period in 2012. This included a record-breaking period between July and September, when 4.9m flocked to London to take in the famous sights. 

After the Office for National Statistics data was published, London & Partners, which oversees tourism in the capital, proclaimed that London is on course to welcome more than 16m people in a single year for the first time ever - a figure that would see it dethrone Paris for the title of most-visited. 

Visitors are also spending more money during their time in the capital on hotel rooms, restaurant meals, visiting attractions and shopping, with spend totalling £3.37bn - up 5% on the year before. 

This uptick is being attributed to the Olympic boost that London has managed to maintain since hosting the Games in the summer of 2012.

The announcement that London was overtaking Paris was, unsurprisingly, enthusiastically welcomed by the mayor of London Boris Johnson, who said: 'These incredible figures prove that London is without doubt the greatest city on the planet.'

However, Mr Johnson's counterpart in Paris, deputy mayor Anne Hidalgo, disputed the figures. 

'Like it or not, while London may have attracted more visitors around the Olympic Games, Paris remains the number one world tourist destination,' she claimed. 

Before adding: 'The mayor of London often claims that London is the best. Well, he can count on me to tell him that Paris is the best.'

Ironically, with around 300,000 French living in London, the English capital has the sixth largest French population in Europe - ahead of Nantes, Strasbourg and Montpellier. 

Of course, no matter what the two political rivals think, the title of most-visited city in the world will ultimately be decided by tourists in 2014. ADNFCR-408-ID-801684355-ADNFCR

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