‘Let’s Do London’ £6m tourism campaign launched

Sadiq Khan focuses on domestic visitors while foreign tourists are absent

London Mayor Sadiq Khan announced "the “biggest domestic tourism campaign the [UK's] capital has ever seen” as he outlined plans to kick-start the city’s struggling hospitality sector.

Mr Khan revealed details of the Let’s Do London initiative during a speech at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre, following his re-election as the capital’s mayor.

The £6 million ($8.4m) year-long campaign will focus on boosting London’s cultural, retail and hospitality industries, which have suffered during the coronavirus pandemic.

Research from the Visit Britain tourism agency showed that income from overseas visitors was down £7.4 billion last year, while domestic tourists spent £3.5bn less.

Plans include the development of new public art installations to attract visitors into central London – including a takeover of Piccadilly Circus Underground station by British artist David Hockney that will start on Monday.

Road crossings and streets in the West End theatre district will also be transformed as part of an initiative involving Royal Academy artists.

Mr Khan also promised outdoor film screenings and late-night openings of museums, as well as the return of festivals such as London Fashion Week.

The mayor has had to focus on domestic visitors because London cannot rely on tourists from abroad while coronavirus travel restrictions are in place.

Travel to Britain is extremely limited, with visitors from just 12 countries and territories allowed into the UK without quarantine under the country's international traffic light travel system, which was unveiled last week.

Saudi Arabia was added to the amber list of countries, meaning visitors from there must quarantine where they are staying for 10 days after they arrive.

The UAE, Qatar and Oman were placed on the red list. Only UK and Irish nationals and people with UK residence can enter England if they were in a red list country or territory in the previous 10 days. On arrival, they must stay at a quarantine hotel for 10 days.

“It's the message to Londoners and people across the country that our capital city stands ready to entertain, inspire, and enthral”, Mr Khan said.

“Once again, it's a chance for us to champion our businesses, cultural institutions and attractions that have suffered so dearly during the pandemic.

“The year-long campaign will bring together London's leading hospitality, cultural, and retail organisations to entice people back into the heart of our city, where they can experience the magic of London," he said.

“This huge campaign will be a great opportunity to remind everyone what makes London so special, and help us to get the buzz back in our city that we've all so sorely missed.

Labour Party candidate Mr Khan, who became London’s first Muslim mayor in 2016, beat his Conservative Party opponent Shaun Bailey last week in a closer than expected vote. He won by 55.2 per cent to 44.8 per cent.

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Updated: May 10, 2021 05:45 PM

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