Last updated: 11:38 AM ET, Thu November 05 2015

London Tourism Gets Another Royal Shot in the Arm

Destination & Tourism | James Ruggia | May 04, 2015

London Tourism Gets Another Royal Shot in the Arm

PHOTO: London’s tourism officials are readying to deliver a big year thanks partially to Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. (Courtesy of Visit Britain)

Her Excellency the Royal Stork arrived at the maternity ward in Paddington’s St. Mary’s Hospital on Saturday bearing Charlotte Elizabeth Diana for the Duke and Duchess of Windsor (Will and Kate) and it’s got British tourism positively swelling with apple-cheeked optimism. London & Partners is predicting the capital will welcome nearly 32 million international and U.K. tourists to the city in 2015 and that’s 2.7 million more than the 29.1 million visitors in 2013. Tourism to London didn’t exactly need a boost as the city continues to attract prodigious visits despite hotel rates that are also fit for kings.

London’s connection to all things royal is one of the city’s biggest draws. When Prince George was born in 2013, he helped London set a record year for tourism, with London welcoming almost 17 million international visits. George, Kate and Will’s first Royal Baby, generated £243 million in the sales of coffee mugs, t-shirts and other souvenirs alone.     

“It’s often said that American tourists are fascinated by the British Royals, and the sightseeing patterns of our customers confirm this,” said Amanda Truman, director product marketing for the London Pass. “We hope that the new Royal baby will bring even more visitors from the US to London.”

According to research by the London Pass, the pass’s smartcard technology showed that in 2014, 23 percent of all visits to sites with Royal connections (including Windsor Castle and Kensington Palace) were made by visitors from the United States. Americans represented 19 percent of visits to all London Pass attractions, so the higher percentage point for Royal sites identifies them as a key draw for U.S. tourists. Visits to royal-related attractions by American London Pass holders has grown significantly since 2011, and last year the most popular Royal site with visitors from across the Atlantic was the Tower of London, followed by Kensington Palace and Windsor Castle.

The Royal Collection Trust and Historic Royal Palaces welcome millions of visitors each year, with a dynamic range of Royal properties including Buckingham and Kensington Palace, the Tower of London and Hampton Court Palace. The celebration can also be found in the city’s hotels, restaurants and attractions in the form of special packages and themed afternoon teas.

The Park Lane Hotel’s Royal Baby Shower Afternoon Tea will be served through the end of May in the hotel’s art deco lounge, The Palm Court. There will be hazelnut and polenta pram cake, a milk bottle panna cotta and a sticky apricot cake ABC learning block. The Royally Rich Afternoon Tea with City Cruises promises to take passengers through 150 years of royal children, with a photographic exhibition and lectures by experts Ian Pelham Turner and Helena Chard. 

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