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Like for many global tourist destinations, the last few years have presented challenges for London. But since travel restrictions have lifted, it’s been fantastic to see the return of visitors from all over the world to our city – not least a healthy number of German visitors.
London is a resilient city that is always reinventing itself. But it has taken a lot of hard work and collaboration across a range of industries to help get London’s tourism and hospitality industry back on its feet.
Major events such as Brexit and the coronavirus pandemic provided some uncertainty, it has also created new opportunities for us to consider how we remain competitive on the global stage.
We’ve recently published a new London 2030 Tourism Vision. Created in partnership with London’s tourism industry, it provides a blueprint to make London a more resilient, inclusive and sustainable tourism destination. As we look to continue to improve London’s tourism offer, we also see opportunities to learn from other destinations and share knowledge on overcoming some of the common challenges we face. For example, a key area we identified for improving London’s tourism offer relates to making London a more sustainable tourism destination.
Our mayor has set ambitious targets to make London a net zero carbon and zero waste city by 2030. Tourism has an important role to play in reaching those targets.
We will explore how we can encourage longer stays in our city. London is a popular destination for business and leisure travellers – therefore we will be looking at creative ways to incentivise visitors to extend their stays or combine a business trip with a holiday. As an island nation we know we will still rely on some air travel into London by 2030. However, there are alternative forms of transport we can encourage visitors to consider. In this area, we can learn from other European cities such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Secondly, our tourism vision highlights the need to improve the visitor experience. This includes thinking about how we can get visitors to consider visitor attractions and neighbourhoods across the whole of London.
We also want to drive forward London’s night-time economy to make London a more 24-hour city. Finally, we want London’s tourism industry to be inclusive and accessible for visitors and Londoners alike. As the industry continues to grow again following the pandemic we want to make sure that it creates jobs and prosperity for Londoners – regardless of their socio-economic background.
London has always been a diverse and open-minded city. Despite some of the political uncertainty created by Brexit, London is still home to over one million Europeans. Our message to European workers, students and visitors is simple: London is open and we look forward to welcoming you to our city in 2023!
Rose Wangen-Jones, Managing Director of London & Partners, London’s destination agency (which runs visitlondon.com).
Text: Rose Wangen-Jones
Illustration: Valentin Berger