The Queen's Platinum Jubilee in 2022 will be among a host of events promoted to 40 luxury travel agents from the United States who will be wined and dined this weekend by London's leading hotels in attempt to lure back lucrative American business.
The US has for long been Britain's most valuable inbound tourism market, accounting for 11% (about 4.5m) of the 38.6m visitors who travelled to the UK in 2019, spending a total of £4.2b. Around three million of these travellers visited London.
Now it is hoped that following the recent relaxation of rules regarding American visitors to the UK, the fact-finding visit, organised by UK trip specialist NoteWorthy and global travel network Virtuoso, which represents 4,500 travel advisers in the US and Canada, will kick-start the return of the US traveller.
The 13 hotels that have joined forces to encourage tourists back to the capital include Brown's hotel, Corinthia London, the Dorchester, 45 Park Lane, Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, the Langham, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, Claridge's, the Connaught, the Berkeley, Rosewood London, Shangri-La at the Shard, and the Savoy.
Franck Arnold, managing director at the Savoy, said: "In 2019 the US market represented approximately 45% of room revenue at The Savoy. For many luxury hotels, the US is one of our most valuable markets. We're excited about hosting some of the industry's very best advisers, who we feel confident will see London is as vibrant, attractive and diverse as it ever has been. Now is the right time to be talking with their top clients about visiting our wonderful hotels and enjoying all that our cosmopolitan capital city offers."
The three London hotels in the Maybourne Hotel Group – Claridge's, the Connaught and the Berkeley – are all taking part in this weekend's event. A spokesperson for the group said prior the pandemic 50% of guests came from the US, with American business particularly strong at Claridge's and the Connaught. Since the relaxation of travel restrictions, the group has already seen "a huge surge" in reservations from US travellers with regular repeat guests returning to the hotel and business looking strong from blue chip companies and high-end leisure business.
During the five-day trip, from 17-21 September, the travel agents will be shown how London's museums, theatres, shops and restaurants have reopened. It is also expected that they will meet with a number of the capital's dignitaries.
Matthew Upchurch, chairman and chief executive of Virtuoso, said: "Tourism's rising recovery, bolstered by vaccinations, is being led by luxury leisure travelers, who are freely spending and planning vacations for the rest of 2021 and beyond. London has always been very popular for our advisers and their clients, and familiar destinations are the first step of a bigger recovery."
Sally Balcombe, chief executive of VisitBritain, added "This visit is a timely and valuable opportunity to promote our world-class tourism products, our culture, heritage and new experiences that are unique to Britain and ready and waiting to welcome back our transatlantic visitors."