Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has announced proposals to invest £5m to support the eventual reopening of central London, including a campaign to attract visitors back to hard-hit retail, hospitality and cultural venues.
The mayor said he wanted domestic tourism to be at the heart of London's drive to ‘build back better' and new initiatives will be developed to encourage Londoners and tourists from around the UK back into central London, with proposals likely to include major events.
City Hall analysis of forecasts by VisitBritain showed that consumer spending in central London by overseas tourists was £7.4b lower throughout 2020, while domestic tourists will have spent £3.5b less, and commuters £1.9b less in 2020 than in the previous year.
Khan said: "I am determined to do everything I can to help our great city recover as quickly as possible from this appalling pandemic.
"Crucial to that will be the safe reopening of central London and attracting Londoners and domestic visitors back to our amazing restaurants, pubs, cultural venues and, of course, our major shopping districts like Oxford and Regent Street and Covent Garden.
"London has always been one of the most visited cities in the world and my proposed investment will help to support central London as it begins to recover.
"In the longer term, we look forward to welcoming international visitors back once again and I have called upon the government to fund a major international tourism campaign with London as the gateway to the UK."
Kate Nicholls, chief executive at UKHospitality, said: "We very much welcome the mayor's focus prioritising hospitality and tourism as the key to London's recovery. Our world-class hotels, bars, restaurant and clubs are critical to London not just economically but also socially and culturally. The announcement of significant support to market our tourist sector will be key to boosting consumer and business confidence ahead of a swift, safe and sustainable reopening and a more rapid recovery. We look forward to working with the mayor and other partners to deliver this and welcome back our teams, our guest and our international visitors in due course."