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Bank Holiday to cap best summer since 2019 for London tourism

Major events attracting tourists this weekend include the Notting Hill carnival and the Reading and All Points East music festivals (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)
Major events attracting tourists this weekend include the Notting Hill carnival and the Reading and All Points East music festivals (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) (PA Wire)

London’s best summer for tourism in four years will end with a flourish over the August Bank Holiday break with airports forecasting their busiest weekend since before the pandemic.

Heathrow bosses said they expected almost one million passengers, up 25% on last year, to pass through the west London hub over the four days of the weekend, a mix of visitors arriving from abroad to enjoy the capital and late-summer holidaymakers on their way to destinations such as New York and Dubai.

Major events attracting tourists this weekend include the Notting Hill carnival and the Reading and All Points East music festivals. Tourism bosses have been delighted with how quickly both domestic and foreign tourism have bounced this summer after three years wiped out or overshadowed by the pandemic, despite continuing concern about the impact of the abolition of duty-free shopping for overseas visitors.

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Budget hotel chain Travelodge today said it had its best ever night ever in London at the start of July as it revealed revenue rose by more than a fifth for the first half of 2023. A spectacular run of events in the capital, including the first weekend of Wimbledon, the Bruce Springsteen concert at Hyde Park, Blur at Wembley, Iron Maiden at the O2 and the Weeknd at the Olympic Park, drew huge numbers of overnight visitors and set up the company’s biggest ever night for revenue in Travelodge’s 80 London hotels.

It also pointed to the return of faceto-face business meetings after the end of Covid restrictions. For the first half of the year to the end of June, the chain reported revenue of £478 million, up more than 22%, and earnings up almost a half to £104 million.

Travelodge chief executive Jo Boydell said: “We see significant opportunities for further growth and have identified more than 300 sites for new Travelodge hotels across the UK, as well as opportunities to grow our operation in Spain.”

Meanwhile, new research from independent finance broker Charles & Dean found that Londoners plan to spend an average of £200 each enjoying themselves over the weekend, more than people in any other region.