Mapping the local value of international tourists | London First

A tour group
A tour group


The first borough-by-borough analysis of the impact of international visitor spending in London has been published by the business campaign group London First – in partnership with Airbnb, Mastercard and EY.

The report reveals that it’s not just Big Ben, the London Eye and Madame Tussauds that bring in the tourist pound. The London economy receives £13bn gross value added (GVA) from overseas tourism, with a fifth of spending now taking place in 19 boroughs outside central London.

The report ‘Tourist Information: Mapping the local value of international visitors’, reveals that £2.8bn is being spent each year around TfL fare zones 2-3, in a “halo zone” of boroughs including Tower Hamlets, Islington, Camden, Greenwich and Hackney.

Produced using insights derived from aggregated and anonymous merchant transaction data provided by Mastercard, aggregated and anonymised data on accommodation provided by Airbnb and economic analysis by EY, the report creates a unique, borough-by-borough visualisation of the spending and travel trends of London’s international visitors.

Jasmine Whitbread, chief executive of London First said: “International tourism is a boon to the capital, contributing billions to the UK economy and strengthening London’s reputation as an open and welcoming global city.

“This first-of-its-kind analysis reveals an even bigger prize to be had if visitors can be encouraged to stay longer and explore beyond the well-trodden tourist trail – from Peckham Rye in the south to Broadway Market in the east – opening up a world of opportunity for local neighbourhoods and [their] businesses.

“Ensuring London remains a top global travel destination will require further investment in the transport network and in the UK’s airport capacity. And it’s clear that better, city-wide data will also help us better market the capital overseas as a global travel destination, with businesses, boroughs and tourists all standing to benefit.”

The report reveals the economic benefits that encouraging international tourists to explore their local London neighbourhood could generate – with some boroughs already having reason to celebrate. Key findings include:

  • International tourism generated £1.2bn for Camden businesses in 2017, and supported 28,412 jobs
  • In Hackney, it was £94m and 2,241 jobs; in Tower Hamlets, £221m and 5,264 jobs
  • Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea are still where most tourist spending takes place: over £10bn in 2017
  • The outer London boroughs – roughly TfL zones 4-6 – generated £389m from international tourists in 2017, which supports 9,000 jobs. Most of this spend was centred around Heathrow
  • The shops, pubs and restaurants of local high streets have most to gain. For instance, Broadway Market in Hackney attracts consistent levels of international transactions, which peak every weekend – at 8-12 times the London average – thanks to the thriving Saturday street market.