London leads the way with overnight stays

London’s hotels and other accommodation recorded more than 56 million overnight stays last year – more than any other city in Europe, research reveals.

According to European Cities Marketing (ECM), there were more than 41 million overnight stays from international tourists in 2016, up 1.3%. Overall London grew 7% year-on-year.

Paris had the second most overnight stays, followed by Berlin, Rome, Barcelona, Madrid and Prague.

Rajesh Agrawal, deputy mayor of London for business, said: “These sensational figures show London’s enduring appeal as one of the most popular international destinations.

“With our world-class sport, culture, art, history and architecture, it is not surprising that visitors continue to flock to the capital, proving that London is open to people from all four corners of the world.”

Ignasi de Delàs, ECM president, added: “We saw another exceptionally successful year for city tourism in Europe.

“London and Paris remain by far the two most popular cities in Europe, although there is very strong growth from many other cities.”

Visitors from the US (11%), Germany (9%), and UK (9%), make up approximately 30% of the source markets to European cities.

London has more than 140,000 rooms, a number which is predicted to grow over the coming years.

New developments come from Premier Inn, which recently opened another hotel on Tottenham Court Road, and US-based hotel operator Standard International, which will open its first hotel in 2018 in the former Camden Town Hall.

Shoreditch has become a hotspot for hotel development, with new properties including Z Hotels and Nobu Hotel Shoreditch.

• Elsewhere, the latest PwC European Cities Hotel Forecast said 2016 was another record year for European tourism, with 12 million more visitors and a total of 2.8 billion nights spent in tourist accommodation.

An influx of tourists from the US and a booming Asia should drive hotel trading in 2017, with most city destinations likely to see continued growth.

PwC head of hospitality and leisure research, Liz Hall, said: “A strengthening dollar will make trips to Europe popular, with a weak pound making London, in particular, even more attractive.

“The effects of a weaker pound were finally felt by [UK] hospitality businesses towards the end of 2016 with inbound holiday tourism soaring.

“We expect inbound holiday growth to continue in 2017, as the capital provides improved value for money.

“Staycations from UK residents may also lift performance as some opt against going overseas as an expected squeeze on living standards begins to bite.

“Events such as the ICC Cricket Champions Trophy, the World Athletics and Para-Athletic Games will help demand in the capital.”