Nine out of ten US tourists more likely to come to Britain following Brexit vote, as American visitors flock to London’s cultural attractions

Thursday 18 August 2016

17 August 2016

London remains a top destination for US tourists following the EU referendum vote, according to new research, with two thirds of US visitors pledging to return to the capital1.

Analysis carried out by London & Partners, the Mayor of London's promotional company, shows that London's booming tourism trade is set to continue post-Brexit, as two thirds of Americans who visited in the last two years said they will definitely return due to a more favorable exchange rate.

Meanwhile, 90 per cent of visitors to London from the US agree the capital's cultural experiences are the best of any city in the world, with the capital's iconic museums, galleries, attractions and West-End musicals key reasons for visiting.

Some 7.9 million American tourists have been drawn to the capital since 2012, the year the city hosted the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games2. Separate research released today confirms that London is open as a leading international destination with London's top museums and galleries reporting an 11 per cent increase in visits from the US since 20123.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will tonight unveil an exciting program of cultural exhibitions and events at the official launch of London's Autumn Season at the capital's Science Museum. Supported by the Government's GREAT campaign, highlights over the coming months will include William Kentridge: Thick Time at the Whitechapel Gallery, London Fashion Weekend at the Saatchi Gallery, Twilight Tours at the Tower of London, Wonderlab: The Statoil Gallery at the Science Museum, Michael Clarke Company at the Barbican and The Radical Eye: Modernist Photography from the Sir Elton John Collection at the New Tate Modern.

Other Autumn Season highlights include Fire! Fire! at the Museum of London, You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-70 at the V&A, Picasso Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery, Real to Reel: A Century of War Movies at the Imperial War Museum, Paul Nash at Tate Britain, South Africa: The Art of a Nation at the British Museum, Beyond Caravaggio at the National Gallery, Abstract Expressionism at the Royal Academy of Art and Rodin and Dance at the Courtauld Gallery.

Sadiq Khan said: "Our city's world-class museums, galleries and exhibitions have firmly positioned London as one of the most welcoming and culturally rich cities to visit. Not only does our unique cultural scene make a substantial and vital contribution to our city's economic prosperity, but I'm delighted to see that London's creative sector plays such an important role in entertaining tourists from across the Atlantic.

"The many millions of visitors who come here time and time again are sending out a clear signal that London is truly open to everyone, and this is the message we will continue to send around the world."

The highly-celebrated artist Sir Quentin Blake, best known for illustrating books written by Roald Dahl, will join the Mayor at the Autumn Season launch with an illustration to capture the #LondonIsOpen campaign. Sir Quentin commented: "Every morning I go to my London balcony and breathe in thousands of words and pictures, and then I start work."

The research from London & Partners also reveals that taking tours of London's famous film locations are big cultural pulls for US visitors, examples including King's Cross station where Harry Potter's Hogwarts Express departed, or iconic locations used in James Bond's Skyfall, The Da Vinci Code and Hugh Grant's Notting Hill. Visitors from Britain were particularly attracted to cultural events such as Stevie Wonder at Hyde Park, musicals like Wicked and the BFI Film Festival.

When asked about their ultimate London tour guide, American tourists were in agreement that Her Majesty the Queen would be their travelling companion of choice, closely followed by footballer David Beckham and singer Adele.

Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, said: "It's wonderful to see that the UK's royal heritage continues to entice visitors from around the world. London is home to some of the finest palaces ever built, with an enduring history of drama and spectacle, pomp and pageantry. Autumn is the perfect time to enjoy these historic sites at their most atmospheric, through unique experiences such as the Tower of London's Twilight Tours."

Also popular was well known actor Michael Caine and comedian Rowan Atkinson's, Mr Bean, while a significant number of people also voted for William Shakespeare, coinciding with activities marking 400 years since the death of the Bard.

Gordon Innes, CEO London & Partners, said: "From the Queen to Adele, Tower Bridge to The Shard, and Picasso to Sir Elton John, London offers one of the most diverse and stimulating cultural experiences of any city in the world.

"With so many new museum openings this year, a stunning array of world class exhibitions and events, the ability to travel 24 hours on the night tube and the city offering better value than ever for international visitors - there has never been a more exciting time to come to London."

Working with London poet and musician LA Salami, London & Partners has also produced a short film aiming to capture the spirit of the 2016 Autumn Season program of events - which can be viewed here

HIGH RES IMAGES from the launch of London's Autumn Season can be downloaded from 20.45 tonight at

High res images of LA Salami and a selection of London's autumn highlights can be found at

1The poll was carried out by TCI Research, an UNWTO accredited company, on behalf of London & Partners.

British results are based on a representative sample of 512 respondents from the UK, men and women, aged from 18 to 65, who have visited London at least once over the past two years. Data was collected by TCI Research using online Access Panel, end of July 2016.

American results are based on a representative sample of 509 respondents from the USA, men and women, aged from 18 to 65, who have visited London at least once over the past two years. Data was collected by TCI Research using online Access Panel, end of July 2016.

American visitors' ‘bucket list' experiences in London


Visit Buckingham Palace


Visit Tower of London


Famous film locations


Visit a traditional London pub for a pint


View from glass floor at Tower Bridge


Afternoon tea at the Ritz or similar hotel


Visit a London Park


Visit Houses of Parliament


See a musical


Eat a curry on London's brick lane


Take a ride on a double decker bus


See an opera


Sleep over at a museum


Take a black cab


Enjoy a classical concert

American visitors' ultimate London Tour Guides


The Queen


Another member of the Royal Family - past or present




David Beckham


Michael Caine


William Shakespeare


Mr Bean


David Bowie


Gordon Ramsay


James Corden


Kate Moss


Charles Dickens


Margaret Thatcher


Samuel Pepys

2 International Passenger Survey Data from the ONS

3 Visitor data supplied by Morris Hargreaves McIntyre.

Morris Hargreaves McIntyre (MHM)
Morris Hargreaves McIntyre is a strategic research consultancy working within the culture, heritage, leisure, media and charities sector. MHM's clients include some of the world's leading museums, galleries and theatres as well as heritage bodies and charities. Clients include British Museum, National Trust, Southbank Centre and Tate.

Morris Hargreaves McIntyre (MHM) data is based on approximately 14,000 face-to-face annual visitor exit surveys undertaken at the following venues: IWM London; Natural History Museum; National Gallery; Tate Modern; Tate Britain; V&A, Museum of Childhood; National Portrait Gallery; British Museum; Science Museum; Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands.

About #LondonIsOpen
#LondonIsOpen will show the world that London remains entrepreneurial, international, and full of creativity and possibility, while reassuring the more than one million foreign nationals who live in London that they will always be welcome, and that any form of discrimination will not be tolerated.

The Mayor is urging all Londoners, organisations and businesses to show their support for the #LondonIsOpen message via social media, through other creative ways.

For more information visit:

About Autumn Season
London & Partners and the Mayor of London are launching London's Autumn Season of Culture. Now in its third year, London's Autumn Season is a campaign designed to cement the city's reputation as the artistic and creative capital of the world.

New Openings
This Autumn Season sees probably the biggest expansion of cultural venues in London in decades, with the opening of new iconic venues designed by world-class architects: the Tate Modern extension, the new Design Museum in Kensington (re-opens 24th November) and a new interactive and Mathematics Gallery at the Science Museum (opens 8th December) which was the late London-based architect Dame Zaha Hadid's, last project.

Festivals and Fashion Hit the City
The city comes alive with festivals, from the London Design Festival (17th - 25th September), London Film Festival, (5th - 16th October) and the London Jazz Festival (11th - 20th November) - which spans tens of events across the city. The best of British Fashion makes its debut at London Fashion Week in September, and Londoners can get involved in London Fashion Weekend (16th-20th September). In the same month we celebrate the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London with an impressive festival of events in the City of London and an exhibition at the Museum of London. And in November, The Streets festival will take renowned jazz artists to outer boroughs where they will perform pop-up gigs in unexpected venues.

Museums and Galleries Open their Doors to the Masters
This autumn, there's an opportunity to revisit the great masters in one city - Picasso's works can be found at the National Portrait Gallery, (opens 6th October - 5th February 2017) you can delve into Abstract Expressionism with Rothko, Pollock, De Kooning at the Royal Academy, (opens 24th September - 2nd January 2017) and explore Caravaggio and his influence at the National Gallery, (12th October - 15th January 2017).

Performances Come Alive
Hollywood actors take to the West End stage, from Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart to Kenneth Branagh and Dominic Cooper. New musicals transfer from Broadway including School of Rock, (24th October - 27th February 2017) and Dream Girls (19th November - 11th March 2017), both based on blockbuster films. Not to be missed dance shows include Olympics choreographer Akram Khan working with the English National Ballet (Giselle: 15th-19th November) and Royal Ballet star Carlos Acosta. At the Southbank Centre, guests will be treated to an eclectic performance program including a 360-degree virtual reality experience with the Philharmonia Orchestra (23 Sept-2 Oct) and the London Literature Festival on 5 - 16 October 2016.

About TCI Research
Results are based on a representative sample of 512 respondents from the UK, men and women, aged from 18 to 65, who have visited London at least once over the past two years. Data was collected by TCI Research using online Access Panel, end of July 2016. TCI Research (Tourism Competitive Intelligence) is a research agency leading in destination competitive analysis, UNWTO-awarded for its reference TRAVELSAT© global program. TCI research provides public and private players of the visitor economy with insights combining representative surveys with controlled Big Data targeted analysis covering the whole visitor experience, from inspiration to sharing.

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London and Partners Autumn Season