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Last Updated: Monday, 10 March, 2003, 12:13 GMT
Big Ben tops London icons list
Big Ben
The famous bell is situated in St Stephen's Tower
Big Ben is still London's most recognisable attraction according to a tourism survey.

The great clock tower and bell of Westminster beat off its nearest competition, the Tower of London, to be named as the attraction which best epitomises the capital.

Five hundred people from London, the UK and overseas, were questioned by the London Tourist Board campaign.

It is part of a 7m promotional campaign to boost London's tourism and counteract jitters as the build-up to war continues.

The drop in tourism because of the 2001 foot-and-mouth outbreak and the 11 September terror attacks cost London 1bn.

But recent months have also seen troops and tanks drafted in to guard Heathrow Airport in west London.
People are more likely to come here in time of war
Tamara Ingram, London Tourist Board

London Tourist Board chairwoman Tamara Ingram told BBC London the initial focus would be on the domestic market.

"People from Europe are still coming to London. There has been a slowdown from America," she said.

"We need to encourage people to come to London from the domestic market and they're more likely to come here in a time of war.

"So we want to build that momentum now."

Visitors will be tempted in with promotional offers such as two-for-one deals to tourist attractions, special theatre offers, discounted short breaks and hotel packages.

After Big Ben and the Tower, Oxford Street, Harrods, the London Eye and the British Museum were the attractions which best summed up London, according to the survey.

BBC London's Julie Gatenby
"Organisers admitted there were challenging times ahead."

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