American selected for once-in-a-lifetime trip
The winner of an international search to find London’s Official Guest of Honour, who will embark on a unique two-week trip to London packed with a series of extraordinary experiences shared with many of London’s famous celebrities, is announced today. Over 100,000 people registered on the Guest of Honour website and 10,000 people submitted entries which included a short film and in 70 words described their perfect day in London.
American Appointed London’s Official Guest of Honour
The campaign, which has captured the imagination of people across the world, will see 24- year-old U.S. citizen Adaeze Uyanwah travel to London next month to enjoy a once-in-a- lifetime trip, during which she will be hosted by some of the capital’s most famous residents at the city’s most iconic visitor attractions.
The announcement comes on the day the United Kingdom’s Office of National Statistics released new information showing that more international travellers are coming to London and the rest of Great Britain than ever before. Last year a record 16.8 million international visitors came to London but the new figures put the city on course to top this number.
International tourists made nearly 13.5 million trips to the city in the first nine months of 2014, a six percent increase when compared to the same period in 2013. Visitors to London also spent a record £8.9 billion (or $10.48 billion), an increase of 6.5 per cent on the same period last year.
Total international visits to the United Kingdom are up six per cent (26.4 million) and spending is up four per cent (£16 billion or $24.3 billion) when comparing the first nine months of 2013 to 2014.
U.S. and North America Top All Visitation to UK
The USA and North America are the UK’s and London’s most valuable tourist market by volume and by spend. In the first nine months of 2014 the number of North America visitors to London remained high at nearly 1.9 million with these visitors spending up to £1.45 billion (or $2.2 billion).
Guest of Honour One-of-a-Kind London Trip
Official Guest of Honour Adaeze, a primary school teacher and aspiring screenwriter from Palmdale, California, will visit some of London’s world famous attractions and immerse herself in the vibrancy and diversity of the city. Visitlondon.com, in partnership with VisitBritain and the UK Government’s GREAT Britain campaign, will be rolling out the red carpet for Adaeze with one-of-a-kind experiences that will include:
- Visiting the Science Museum with renowned physicist Professor Stephen Hawking.
- Having afternoon tea at Lord’s Cricket Ground with Downton Abbey’s butler Carson – actor Jim Carter
- Taking a behind-the-scenes tour of the Houses of Parliament with Speaker of the House of Commons, the Rt Hon John Bercow MP
- Opening Tower Bridge, the most famous bridge in the world
- Having a meal cooked by Michelin-starred Chef Jason Atherton at his flagship restaurant, Pollen Street Social
- Being taken on a tour of the Royal Opera House by world-famous singer and conductor, Plácido Domingo and British ballerina Darcey Bussell
- Taking a VIP tour with former tennis star Tim Henman of the All England Tennis Club, which hosts The Wimbledon Championships
- Walk the red carpet at a film premiere in Central London
- Enjoy a VIP shopping experience on Oxford Street
- Be a Keeper for the day at ZSL London Zoo, the world’s first scientific zoo
- Edit a page of the “London Life” section of the Evening Standard newspaper
- Fire the guns from the warship, HMS Belfast a unique privilege
During her two-week stay in London, while travelling with her mother, Adaeze is particularly looking forward to visiting the Houses of Parliament but will also be venturing outside of the capital including a trip to Wales.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “This great prize encompasses everything that makes our city truly outstanding and I hope Adaeze enjoys every second. I look forward to welcoming our Guest of Honour to London and hearing about her science trip with the great Professor Stephen Hawking and tour of our historic corridors of power at the Houses of Parliament.”
Gordon Innes, Chief Executive London & Partners, said: “We were captivated by Adaeze’s charm, passion and enthusiasm for London. She is the perfect advocate for the capital and we can’t wait to welcome her in style to London.
2014 Forecast as Banner Year for Tourism to UK
London’s world-class visitor attractions have been helping drive a big increase in tourists coming to the capital – putting the city on course for its most successful tourism year. The latest tourism figures show that London is continuing to build on its success and people are travelling from all over the world to experience what the city has to offer.
The Office for National Statistics also released figures for the first eleven months of last year for the whole of the UK, which suggest that 2014 will be another record year for inbound tourism. During January to November 2014 there were 32.4 million visits to the UK, 7 per cent more recorded than at the same time period in 2013. Overseas visitors spent just over £20 billion (or $30 billion), 3 per cent more than in the eleven months to November 2013.
Adaeze will be hosted throughout the break by London & Partners, the Mayor’s promotional company, which has worked with partners across the capital to make this dream trip come true. Adaeze, who is a big fan of Harry Potter, added: “Ever since I was a toddler, all I've heard about is London. It's got so much culture, so much tradition, that I'm just not used to... It's beautiful, in my opinion, I love London so much.”
Great London events for 2015 include Hamlet at the Barbican, with Benedict Cumberbatch; a new Damien Hirst Gallery in Lambeth; Alexander McQueen’s Savage Beauty exhibition at the V&A; Prudential Ride London; the 2015 Rugby World Cup; a new Shrek visitor attraction on the South Bank, and dozens and dozens more.
Celebrated anniversaries for 2015 include the 50th Anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill’s Death, the 125th birthday of Agatha Christie; the 150thanniversary of Alice in Wonderland; and the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.
To find out more go to www.visitlondon.com/guest or follow Adaeze’s journey live @LondonGuest