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British Celebrities Tell VisitLondon.com to 'Love London Like a Local' as the UK Capital Breaks a Record for Tourist Visits

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM -- (Marketwired) -- 01/16/14 -- As London celebrates record numbers of international tourists coming to the capital, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson, actress Joanna Lumley, model and actress Twiggy, Michelin-star Chef Gordon Ramsay and two of the world's most famous ballet dancers talk about what makes their city the greatest place on earth to visit.

The campaign is launched as the latest set of tourism figures from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) show that the city is on course to welcome over 16 million overseas visitors in a year for the first time in history. Watch and share their 'London Story' at VisitLondon.com/story.

VisitLondon.com, the official city guide, has spoken to celebrities and proud Londoners about what fascinates them about living in the capital and how they spend their free time. Whether it's Gordon Ramsay's reflections on the Royal Albert Bridge, Joanna Lumley's love of duck ponds or Boris Johnson enjoying sausage and mash in his favourite pub -- The London Story -- a new video campaign launched today, reveals a new and personal side to the British capital.

Surge in Tourism to London
Hosting the Olympics has given London a massive boost on the world stage, with huge numbers of international visitors flocking to the city. Figures released today by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for July-September show that a record 4.9 million people visited the city. For the first nine months of 2013 London welcomed nearly 12.8 million visitors, a 12% increase compared to 2012.

International visitors also spent over £ 3.7 billion on shopping, hotels, restaurants and visiting attractions during the summer, up 5% compared to the same time last year.

The positive picture also is reflected across the UK as provisional estimates show an 8% increase in overseas visitors between July-September, and in the first nine months of 2013 there were nearly 25 million international visits to the UK, up 11% year on year.

Visits from North America (800,000) were up 12.2% in Q3, generating receipts of £ 560 million, a boost of 8%.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson
In his 'London Story' video, the Mayor of London Boris Johnson reveals there's nothing better he likes doing than cycling to Hackney, east London and then on to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park admiring how London has more parks and green space than any other city in the world.

Speaking about what makes London so great, he says: "With so many fascinating museums, the best theatre scene in the world, more green space than any other European city, numerous top sporting venues, a low crime rate and much else besides, it is no wonder that people from all over the globe are flocking to London in record numbers. These incredible figures prove that London is without doubt the greatest city on the planet."

Chef Gordon Ramsay
Chef, TV personality and restaurateur, Gordon Ramsay, says the vibe, coolness and great restaurants in the city are second to nowhere else in the world.

Gordon adds: "Whenever we are returning from a long trip, the first thing we do is go out for a great curry on Brick Lane which is phenomenal. I've been to India but I find curries in Brick Lane better -- you can't beat a good London curry. Shall I let you in to the ultimate London secret? The best place for the ultimate fry-up is the 24 hour café on Fulham Road called Vingt-Quatre -- to me this is to die for. There is nowhere better anywhere in the world to eat than in London.''

Actress Joanna Lumley
Actress and human rights campaigner Joanna Lumley fell in love with London in the 1960's and adores hearing the chimes of Big Ben from her home in Stockwell, south London. She currently stars as "Emma" in Martin Scorsese's blockbuster film "The Wolf of Wall Street" with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Joanna says her hidden gem is Holland Park: "It's got parterres, winding paths, statues, a little opera house, a beautiful restaurant and an orangery" along with "duck ponds and peacocks which roost in the trees."

Model and actress Twiggy
Twiggy, who became the most famous face on the planet in the 1960's, says London is in her genes and that she loves visiting the Victoria & Albert Museum. Known for her fashion design sense, Twiggy relates that "Another great thing about London is shopping! What girl doesn't love shopping and London is the best!"

Notes to Editors:

All TV videos are HD broadcast quality, access media worldwide, free of charge, rights cleared and music rights cleared.

Access from Midday 16th January:

1) Videos can be accessed at www.eurovision.net/wf/worldfeeds.php
Available on WorldLink: www.eurovision.net/worldlink.

Videos and Audio packages at www.thenewsmarket.com/londonandpartners

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