The Coach Tourism Association (CTA) has joined the London tourism sector in urging the UK government to step in now to avert an ‘economic crisis’ in the capital.
The 10,776 London attractions, restaurants, hotels, industry bodies and event organisers have written to the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, to urgently kickstart the capital’s tourism sector and aid its recovery through investment and a clear strategic plan to welcome back tourists.
Led by Merlin Entertainments and with the support of trade associations including UKHospitality, Tourism Alliance, ETOA, the CTA and UKinbound, the ‘SOS London Tourism Collective’ believes action is vital to ensure London tourism is at the forefront of the post-lockdown recovery and guaranteeing long term success for destinations, attractions and businesses across the capital.
A key priority which the ‘SOS London’ campaign would like to see the Government address is a committed and rapid investment in both domestic and international marketing campaigns, positioning London as a safe and welcoming tourism destination. An extension to the business rates holiday by another year is also called for to avoid seasonal businesses in the hospitality industry getting hit with an end of year bill when cash reserves are at their lowest.
Coach Tourism Association Chair John Wales said: “The coach segment delivers £7.4 billion to the UK whilst SME family run companies are investing heavily in one of the most environmentally friendly ways of travelling with CO2 emissions six times lower than car travel.”
Sunny Jouhal, General Manager of the lastminute.com London Eye, said: “The measures announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer last week are hugely appreciated, but we now need to look further ahead to tackle future challenges. Tourism in the capital is in crisis due to three months of London effectively being closed, even with the ability for some businesses to reopen, the industry is already half-way through its peak season making it impossible for many across the sector to recover.
“We’re launching SOS London with a wide selection of industry partners to take collective action and ensure the London tourism sector survives. London is practically empty and there is no concrete plan for recovery in place. If the UK Government does not act now, we will see one of the biggest missed opportunities on Britain’s road to recovery and prosperity.”
Florence Eshalomi, Labour MP for Vauxhall, said: “While the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s announcement is welcome, I’m very concerned that it does not go far enough.
“Having spoken to a diverse range of business owners in my Vauxhall constituency, the fact remains that cafes, restaurants, hotels and attractions are struggling to keep their business afloat. If the government does not take immediate action, the long-term prosperity of the area will be under threat and we risk losing fantastic businesses people know and love. The London tourism industry is fundamental to the economic recovery of the capital.”