London tourism set to lose out despite mayor's support

29 November 2010 by
London tourism set to lose out despite mayor's support

The Mayor of London has said tourism remains a cornerstone of his development strategy for the capital, despite predictions that funding cuts will kill-off tourist board Visit London.

A spokesman for London Mayor Boris Johnson reiterated that tourism remained a fundamental pillar of the economic development strategy for the capital, stressing it would not be sidelined as funding priorities are reassessed in the wake of the Government's Comprehensive Spending Review.

VisitBritain, the UK's national tourism agency, suffered a cut of more than a third to its four year budget as part of the review, and news that the London Development Agency (LDA) is to end its £12m annual funding of Visit London has caused "extreme concern" amongst industry representatives.

Ufi Ibrahim, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association

"Without a tourist board, London will lose out badly as a world tourism destination in the coming years."

The association has written to Johnson and business secretary Vince Cable outlining its concerns, pointing out that Visit London's activities deliver not only leisure guests to the capital but significant conference and related business.

The mayor's office, which has a wide range of responsibilities across the capital other than simply tourism, is currently locked in negotiations with government officials to achieve a settlement, with a decision due before Christmas.

Johnson and his team are likely to receive a pot of money to spend on economic development in London as a whole, and while tourism is seen as a key economic driver, it will have to compete with other interests - such as sport in the capital - from a smaller pot of money than the original LDA funding.

Ken Robinson, chairman of the Tourism Alliance, expressed grave concern about London's ability to generate the £2bn tourism legacy from hosting the 2012 Olympics without Visit London in place.

He added: "While tourism to London and the UK will continue even if funding it not made available to Visit London after 31st March 2011, the cost in terms of lost income to Britain will be very high."

"Furthermore, the core marketing functions that Visit London undertakes cannot be accomplished by collective activities by the private sector alone. Despite the importance of tourism and hospitality to London, the industry comprises mainly small and medium sized businesses who cannot participate in major overseas promotional programmes. Most of London's major tourism-related companies are internationally based and will not readily favour any one destination over competitor city destinations in Europe or elsewhere," said Robinson.

The news comes days after the coalition's immigration cap fuelled fears of a skills crisis in the UK's ethnic restaurant kitchens.

Migration cap fuels fears of skills crisis >>

VisitBritain gets some ‘tough love' in Comprehensive Spending Review >>

VisitBritain and Visit England avoid quango cull but School Food Trust for the chop >>

By Chris Druce

E-mail your comments to Chris Druce here.

If you have something to say on this story or anything else join the debate at Table Talk - Caterer's new networking forum. Go to jobs
Looking for a new job? Find your next job here with jobs

Blogs on]( Catch up with more news and gossip on all Caterer's blogs
[Newsletters For the latest hospitality news, sign up for our e-mail newsletters.
The Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email

Start the working day with The Caterer’s free breakfast briefing email

Sign Up and manage your preferences below

Check mark icon
Thank you

You have successfully signed up for the Caterer Breakfast Briefing Email and will hear from us soon!

Jacobs Media Group is honoured to be the recipient of the 2020 Queen's Award for Enterprise.

The highest official awards for UK businesses since being established by royal warrant in 1965. Read more.


Ad Blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an adblocker and – although we support freedom of choice – we would like to ask you to enable ads on our site. They are an important revenue source which supports free access of our website's content, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.

trade tracker pixel tracking