The provisional data reveals London had 4.16 million visitors between July and September 2012, a fall of 6% on the same quarter in the previous year. Holiday visitors fell 10% while business visitors were down 5%.
London’s official promotional body London & Partners attributed the fall to the displacement effect of the Games, combined with the continued drop in European visitors due to the economic downturn. It added that overseas business visitors to the capital for Olympics-related activities may have neutralised some losses from regular business traffic.
Despite the drop, expenditure in London was up 11.2% year-on-year to £3.14bn, suggesting visitors to the Olympic and Paralympic Games spent more than regular travellers.
Visitor numbers began to return to normal after the Games, with a 1% rise from September. Hotel occupancy and West End retail sales - reliable indicators of numbers - both rose 5% in September.
Longer-term figures reveal that London welcomed 15.2 million visitors in the year to September, only a 0.2% drop on the 2011 full-year figures.
Gordon Innes, chief executive of London & Partners, said: "2012 was an incredible year for the capital and despite the anticipated dip in visitor numbers during quarter three, overall figures for the year are looking positive. We had an incredible opportunity to showcase London to the world and we are continuing to reach out to our leisure and business audiences to grow visitor numbers through our tourism campaign: London, now see it for yourself".
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