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Tourism not a priority in mayoral campaigns

01 May 2008 by
Tourism not a priority in mayoral campaigns

Hospitality industry leaders believe tourism has not been high on the agenda of London's mayoral candidates ahead of today's vote.

Despite early pledges by Labour's Ken Livingstone, the Conservatives' Boris Johnson and Liberal Democrat Brian Paddick to introduce a minimum London living wage of £7.20 per hour for all hospitality workers, further policies targeted directly at hospitality and tourism remain few and far between.

Under the mayor's current powers, the victor will be responsible for the economic development of the capital, including tourism under the Visit London banner.

Kurt Janson, policy director at the Tourism Alliance, said Livingstone had put a lot of funding into Visit London and was instrumental in boosting visitor numbers after the 2005 terrorist attacks, but suggested that the current mayor's opposition to the expansion of London's airports contradicted his support for improving tourist figures in the capital. As for the tourism policies of Johnson and Paddick, Janson said he had "no real idea".

Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive at the British Hospitality Association, said that as the industry had no current issues with the way Visit London was funded, the question of tourism promotion in the capital had not raised its head during the campaign.

"The hotel business is still doing well in London and restaurants have not been affected by the credit crunch so far," he said.

"One issue that will come up is the Crossrail project. How much is it going to cost restaurants in the area in extra business rates? There are issues on the horizon and we will work on them with whoever becomes mayor."

Read more new on the London Olympics at www.caterersearch.com/london-olympics

Caterer Blog: GBK enters Mayoral race >>

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By Christopher Walton

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