Last month, the Mayor of London announced a new domestic marketing programme to attract UK visitors to London. This was a result of New West End Company’s extensive lobbying to support the West End and Mayfair.
The 2017 figures showed that the number of domestic visitors to London had declined by 3%; a decline that we do not want to see amplified. Tourism supports approximately 700,000 jobs across London, while in 2017 alone, it generated almost £26 billion for the capital’s economy. Over the past five years, the number of international visits to London have increased year on year, which while positive, has not deterred the fact that we have seen a decline in visitors from around the UK. This decline has considerably reduced spend from day visits by approximately 13% from £14.4 billion down to £12.6 billion.
We needed a strategy as dedicated to domestic tourism as we have for international visitors. We successfully lobbied the Mayor’s office for just this, and the result is an industry-led Domestic Tourism Consortium for which the Mayor has committed £600,000 over the next two years.
The Consortium, run by London & Partners, will support the much-needed dedicated campaigns and promotional activity to address the decline in UK visitors. Alongside us, a number of London’s BIDs have also provided substantial investment toward the campaign.
For us in the West End, this campaign will be integral to attracting visitors from all over the UK. The West End is the retail, gourmet and cultural heartland of London, and an important gateway to other UK tourist destinations, driving growth across the country.
Amid current socio-economic uncertainty, it is more important than ever to endorse and promote London’s offering and safeguard its future. The West End plays a significant role in retaining London’s global position, and this will only become more important in the months to come. It is great to see businesses and stakeholders coming together to collectively invest in the city’s tourism industry.