Royal attractions in big boost to British tourism: figures

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Tourist attractions linked to Britain's royal family generate over 500 million pounds (600 million euros, 780 million dollars) a year in spending by overseas tourists, officials said Thursday.

The Tower of London was the most popular royal attraction with 2.39 million visitors last year, followed by the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, southeast London on 2.38 million and the Victoria and Albert Museum, also in the capital, on 2.27 million.

Buckingham Palace, which only opens for two months a year every summer, received 402,000 visitors.

Russian tourists were most likely to visit an attraction linked to the royal family, with 83 percent saying they intended to do so, according to tourism promotion body VisitBritain.

"This fascinating research shows Britain's monarchic heritage draws foreign tourists to just about every corner of the country," said Sandie Dawe, chief executive of VisitBritain.

Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her diamond jubilee in 2012, a feat last accomplished back in 1897 by Queen Victoria. "This report suggests that year she is going to generate a bonanza for British tourism," said Dawe.

© 2010 AFP

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