Hotels have been enjoying an unexpected tourist boom as thousands of visitors flock to Brighton and Hove to lap up the late summer sunshine.

Figures out today show the city has had a rise in tourists while other popular destinations, such as London, suffered a fall.

Although the weather took a turn for the worst yesterday, beaches, bars and hotels have been bursting at the seams during the past few weeks, a time when the city normally attracts fewer tourists as the summer season draws to a close.

The figures show more people paid more money to stay in city hotels during August compared to the same period last year.

Brighton and Hove's room yield, a figure based on the number of rooms booked and the money each visitor brings into a hotel, rose by 5.8 per cent - much higher than most other parts of Britain.

The average room yield for hotels outside London was up just 0.1 per cent, with the capital seeing yields fall three per cent.

The statistics were compiled by PKF, one of the UK's leading firms of accountants and business advisers.

The council's head of tourism Adam Bates said: "The fact we have got more demand says a lot about the city because more visitors want to come here and are coming here. It also tells us we are attracting business visitors and they pick up the gaps in demand that leisure visitors leave."

Mark Froud, chief executive of Sussex Enterprise, said: "Many people who had concerns about Sars and the war in Iraq have opted to visit British seaside towns instead. These factors combined with the absolutely fantastic weather have meant more people visiting hotels."

A new breed of boutique hotels may also have tempted visitors to the city. Among them is Hotel Du Vin in Ship Street.

Duty manager Laura Strizic said the hotel was at least 86 per cent full throughout the year, rising to about 93 per cent in July and August.

Hotels outside London saw average daily rates per occupied room drop from £57.67 to £57.56, with hotels in the capital seeing rates drop from £88.72 to £84.31.