London unveils its Official Guest of Honour as the city welcomes more international visitors than ever before

Thursday 15 January 2015

The campaign will see 24 year-old US citizen Adaeze Uyanwah travel to London next month to enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime trip, during which she will be hosted by some of the capital’s most famous residents at the city’s most iconic visitor attractions.

The announcement comes on the day the United Kingdom’s Office for National Statistics released new information showing that more international travellers are coming to London and the rest of Britain than ever before. Last year a record 16.8 million international visitors came to London but the new figures put the city on course to top this number.

International tourists made nearly 13.5 million trips to the city in the first nine months of 2014, a six per cent increase when compared to the same period in 2013. Visitors to London also spent a record £8.9billion, an increase of 6.5 per cent on the same period last year.

Total international visits to the United Kingdom are up six per cent (26.4 million) and spend is up four per cent (£16 billion) when comparing the first nine months of 2013 to 2014.

Now, Guest of Honour Adaeze, a part-time primary school teacher and freelance creative writer from Palmdale, California, will visit some of London’s world famous attractions and immerse herself in the vibrancy and diversity of the city., in partnership with VisitBritain and the UK Government’s GREAT Britain campaign, will be rolling out the red carpet for Adaeze who will;

  • Visit the Science Museum with renowned physicist Professor Stephen Hawking.
  • Have afternoon tea at Lord’s Cricket Ground with Downton Abbey’s butler Carson – actor Jim Carter
  • Take a behind the scenes tour of the Houses of Parliament with Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP
  • Open Tower Bridge, the most famous bridge in the world
  • Have a meal cooked by Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton at his flagship restaurant, Pollen Street Social
  • Be taken on a tour of the Royal Opera House by world-famous singer and conductor, Plácido Domingo and British ballerina and Strictly Come Dancing judge Darcey Bussell,
  • Take a VIP tour with former tennis star Tim Henman of the All England Tennis Club, which hosts The Wimbledon Championships.

During her two week stay in London, Adaeze will also be venturing outside of the capital including a trip to Wales.

Adaeze, who will travel to London with her mum, Faye, and stay in a luxurious suite at the Radisson Blu Edwardian, Mercer Street, said: “I cannot express how excited and happy I am to be coming to London! Winning this competition feels like a dream come true - like something out of ‘Charlie and The Chocolate Factory’.

“I have been in love with London and the UK ever since I can remember and I am so grateful that I’m able to bring my mother and share all of these incredible experiences with her – we are beyond excited!”

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “This great prize encompasses everything that makes our city truly outstanding and I hope Adaeze enjoys every second. I look forward to welcoming our Guest of Honour to London and hearing about her science trip with the great Professor Stephen Hawking and tour of our historic corridors of power at the Houses of Parliament.

“I’m confident Adaeze will take away amazing memories and encourage her American friends to join the millions of international visitors enjoying London’s rich culture, events and iconic landmarks every year.”

Gordon Innes, Chief Executive London & Partners, said: “We were captivated by Adaeze’s charm, passion and enthusiasm for London. She is the perfect advocate for the capital and we can’t wait to welcome her in style to London.

“The latest tourism figures show that London is continuing to build on its success and people are travelling from all over the world to experience what this incredible city has to offer. We are confident this year will be another bumper year for London’s tourism sector as the capital continues to put on world class exhibitions and events such as the Rugby World Cup.”

Over 100,000 people registered on the Guest of Honour website and 10,000 people submitted entries which included a short film and in 70 words described their perfect day in London.

Adaeze said: “First, I’d wake up at Buckingham Palace if possible. Then I’d go for a full English breakfast at a traditional English pub. I’d then take a tour of Parliament and see a show in the West End. I’d end the day on the London Eye, overlooking the city. There are so many more things I’d love to do in my favourite city! Not enough hours in the day.”

Adaeze will be hosted throughout the break by London & Partners, the Mayor’s promotional company, which has worked with many partners across the capital to make this dream trip come true.

London’s world-class visitor attractions have been helping drive a big increase in tourists coming to the capital – putting the city on course for its most successful tourism year. Last summer, the capital’s museums and galleries had record-breaking visitor numbers. It is hoped visitor numbers will remain high after museums and galleries across the capital opened their doors for a blockbuster Autumn Season.

The Office for National Statistics also released figures for the first eleven months of last year for the whole of the UK, which suggest that 2014 will be another record year for inbound tourism.

During January to November 2014 there were 32.4 million visits to the UK, 7 per cent more visits recorded than at the same juncture in 2013. These overseas visitors spent just over £20 billion, ­ 3 per cent more than in the eleven months to November in 2013.

Patricia Yates, Director of Strategy and Communications at VisitBritain said: “Inbound tourism continues to be the fastest growing sector of the tourism industry – one of Britain’s most successful export industries that delivers jobs and growth across Britain. We are delighted to have played our part in delivering this success.”

To find out more go to or follow Adaeze’s journey live @LondonGuest

For more information contact:

VisitBritain Media Team

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