Leading European city destinations by international arrivals 2016-2018

London again emerged as Europe’s top city destination, attracting 20.72 million international arrivals in 2018, up from 19.84 million international arrivals in 2017. Although London attracted more visitors during 2018 than it did during 2017, the gap between London and Paris narrowed slightly. In 2017, London welcomed 5.58 million more visitors than Paris, while in 2018 the gap fell to just 3.88 million international visitors.

London calling: appealing to younger visitors

An increase in overseas tourist spending has accompanied the rise in numbers of international arrivals. In 2008, international visitors to London spent 8.13 billion British pounds in the city. This rose to an impressive 13.55 billion British pounds in 2017, the first time that figure exceeded 12 billion British pounds.

Those aged 25-34 were the most prominent group among inbound travelers, with 4.96 million travelers within this age range visiting the city in 2017. Those aged 35-44 were close behind in terms of sheer visitor numbers, with 4.33 million such visitors arriving during 2017.

London accommodation profile

Hosting more international arrivals than any European city means London’s hotel industry must constantly operate at peak efficiency to accommodate the millions of tourists flocking to the city each year. Annual hotel occupancy reached 83.3 percent in 2018, a figure that is tipped to remain relatively stable until at least 2020. The average daily rate for a room was 149 British pounds as of 2018, while the revenue per available room (RevPAR) stood at 124 British pounds in the same year.

As well as traditional hotel services, short-stay rental services also play a major role in the city’s accommodation profile. In the year to July 2018, there were approximately 75,700 active Airbnb listings in London, an 18 percent increase on the year prior. These listings hosted 2.2 million guests in the year to July 2018, up from 2.1 million the year before.

Leading city destinations in Europe from 2016 to 2018, by number of international arrivals

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Release date

December 2018



Survey time period

2016 to 2018*

Supplementary notes

Data includes visitors from abroad who stay for at least 24 hours and not exceeding 12 months. International arrivals may have arrived at the city as their first point of entry, or arrived in the country via a different point of entry before traveling to the city. Domestic visitors have been excluded.
Figures have been rounded.
* Data for 2018 is a forecast.

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Statistics on "City tourism in Europe"

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