The latest International Passenger Survey data released by the Office for National Statistics suggests that nearly 8 million tourists visited London in the first six months of 2013. The projected yearly figure is 16 million which would put London as the most visited city on the planet.
Perhaps the most surprising statistic is that visitor numbers were up almost 20% compared to last year, when Olympic fever brought millions to the city. The driving factor has been a dramatic upsurge in visitors to the UK’s capital from Eastern Europe and the Baltic States, as well as Latin America and Asia.
This is clearly encouraging for the hotel sector and there is even more good news. Despite the global financial crisis and the impact of the Eurozone sovereign debt defaults, London has managed to retain its number one ranking in the Global Financial Centres Index. The City of London’s position as a global hub brings thousands of business leaders to London each year. Looking forward, the planned £1 billion Asian Business Port at the Royal Albert Dock will bring a surge of visitors from Asia, looking to more easily access European markets through London.
Undoubtedly London’s resilience to deal with growing visitor numbers will be put to the test, but plans are afoot for airport expansion, although where that expansion happens has been the subject of much debate.
The arguments for hotel expansion are therefore compelling. Indeed some owners have already capitalised on the opportunity, as has been evidenced by the number of deals being carried out in the capital. In recent months, the Millennium Bridge House has been sold to the UK hospitality group Shiva Hotels, the HSH Group entered into a joint venture partnership to develop a Peninsula Hotel at Grosvenor Place, and the Chinese group Dalian Wanda has announced plans to invest in a five-star luxury hotel on the South Bank.
If hotel expansion or investment in the UK is something of interest to you, we have hotel experts who can advise you at all stages and in all aspects of hotel owning, helping you to manage risk, minimise tax leakage, and deal with regulation, from both a UK and international perspective.
For further information please contact Stephen Martin.
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