Mayor of London launches new vision for tourism in the capital
01 September 2017
- British capital tops Google search rankings for city and short breaks
- London set for rapid growth in visitor numbers over the next eight years, despite Brexit
- Mayor Sadiq Khan launches London’s Autumn Season
The Mayor of London and visitlondon.com today launched a bold new vision to accelerate the capital’s status as a world-class tourist destination. Tourism numbers in London are set to rise sharply, with more than 40 million people expected to visit the city by 2025, an increase of 30 per cent on the 31.2 million visitors who came to the capital in 2016.
The Tourism Vision for London, which is backed by more than 100 industry partners and supported by the Mayor of London, also projects visitor spending to grow by almost 50 per cent to £22 billion a year, up from £14.9 billion (2016). The surge in visitor numbers could be bolstered in the short-term by currency fluctuations, and according to separate research from London & Partners around two thirds of international visitors say they’re more likely to visit London given more favourable currency rates.
Other key findings from the Tourism Vision for London show:
- Some of the fastest growing markets for visitors to London by 2025 are China (103 per cent growth), India (90 per cent growth), the USA (43 per cent) and the UAE (43 per cent)
- London’s tourism industry is worth 11.6 per cent of the capital’s GDP and 9 per cent across the UK as a whole
- The sector employs 700,000 people in London – equivalent to 1 in 7 jobs
However, the tourism vision states that the growth in visitor numbers is not a given with increasing competition from other destinations, particularly emerging markets that are fighting to attract new visitors.
It makes four recommendations:
- Invest in more pre-visit promotion to attract more first-time visitors and the boost numbers travelling in off-peak periods
- Invest in information and the visitor experience to allow people to explore more of the city
- Ensure London can sustain and accommodate growing numbers of visitors through investment in cultural infrastructure, improving visitor amenities and harnessing digital technology
- Develop the infrastructure for business visits to ensure the city remains attractive for event organisers and delegates
London and Partners’ findings coincide with data from Google that reveals the capital is the most searched for global destination for city and short breaks.
According to Google, London leads worldwide searches for city and short breaks ahead of Barcelona, Rome, Paris and Amsterdam, with the overall number of searches up by 17 per cent year-on-year. London also tops Google’s search rankings for global cities to fly to.
The Tourism Vision for London and this year’s Autumn Season were launched last night by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan at an event at the Natural History Museum.
The Mayor commented: “London is the world’s greatest city, so it comes as no surprise that we lead the way when it comes to international tourism. Visitors to the capital bring huge benefits - the industry boosts London’s economy, as well as supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs and showing the world that London is an open, welcoming and diverse city.
“It’s important that all Londoners benefit from a growth in tourism. By inspiring visitors to come to our great city during quieter periods like autumn and to find hidden gems off the beaten track, we can ensure that the projected growth in visitor numbers is sustainable and that the tourism and cultural industries work for everyone.
“London’s Autumn Season will show visitors what it is like to explore the city like a Londoner, whether that’s finding the capital’s secret treasures or visiting its world-leading exhibitions and shows. More than ever it is vital to ensure that the capital extends a warm welcome to all guests of our incredible city.”
Culture, the arts, history and heritage are the number one reason visitors come to London. As the capital launches its annual celebration of the blockbuster exhibitions, performances and events that make up the Autumn Season, additional data from Google shows that the city’s West End theatres form a big slice of online searches for culture in the capital.
According to Google the musical Hamilton, which is a jewel in the crown of this year’s Autumn Season, is the most searched for UK musical globally this year.
Creator of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda, who stars in the launch film for London’s Autumn Season, says: “London is one of the most exciting places in the world. There’s a real sense of discovery about London – you turn the corner and you walk into something new, amazing, and teeming with life. There is so much to see during London’s Autumn Season, every weekend there’s something going on. Bringing Hamilton to the West End during the autumn is a dream come true – and I can’t wait to see how British audiences embrace it.”
This year’s Autumn Season will shine a spotlight on the best events taking place across the capital in the months ahead. It will also give people the chance to experience the city like a Londoner with the help of special guides including: vocalist and broadcaster Jumoké Fashola, author and fashion historian Amber Buchart, London events and culture vloggers Pete and Jens, and Blue Badge Tour Guide, David Mildon.
Jumoké Fashola says: “London is an incredible place to visit – no matter the time of year, it breathes excitement. It’s an open city that smiles and always has something to give. Culture is embedded in its very fibre – and I can’t wait to perform at the London Jazz Festival, now in its 25th year. Whether it’s art, drama, theatre or dance – London’s Autumn Season has something for everyone.”
Other highlights of this year’s Autumn Season include:
- This Is Rattle at the Barbican, which marks Sir Simon Rattle’s first season as Musical Director of the London Symphony Orchestra
- Dance Umbrella’s Origami at Battersea Power Station and four other Thames-side locations
- The Museums at Night festival
- The MTV European Music Awards
- NFL returns to London for four games at Wembley and Twickenham in September and October
The Autumn Season was formally opened at the Natural History Museum last night. Hosting the event, the museum’s Director, Sir Michael Dixon, said: London’s Autumn Season is a brilliant way of showcasing the vast array of cultural attractions the city has on offer to an international audience and we are delighted to be part of the campaign. We’re very pleased that one of London’s biggest new stars, our blue whale skeleton Hope, has had the chance to preside over the launch event in our spectacular, newly reimagined Hintze Hall.”
visitlondon.com has created a series of films starring Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and Londoners from across the capital as they explore the remarkable events that make London a must-see destination to visit this autumn. Watch now at visitlondon.com/autumn.
London & Partners Media & PR Team
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Notes to editors
 Taken from ‘A Tourism Vision for London’, published 1 September 2017
 Based on a survey of 2,005 international visitors from the top two inbound markets to London
 Based on Google Insights compiled in August 2017
 Based on Google Insights compiled in August 2017
CAMPAIGN FILMS, AN INFOGRAPHIC OF THE PROJECTIONS DATA AND IMAGES FROM THE LAUNCH EVENT ARE AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD HERE.
About London’s Autumn Season
London & Partners and the Mayor of London are launching London’s Autumn Season. Now in its fourth year, London’s Autumn Season is a campaign designed to cement the city’s reputation as the artistic and creative capital of the world.
About London & Partners
London & Partners is the Mayor of London’s official promotional agency. Its purpose is to support the Mayor’s priorities by promoting London internationally, as the best city in the world in which to invest, work, study and visit. It does this by devising creative ways to promote London and to amplify the Mayor’s messages, priorities and campaigns to engage international audiences. Its mission is to tell London’s story brilliantly to an international audience.
London & Partners is a not-for-profit public private partnership, funded by the Mayor of London and our network of commercial partners. For more information visit www.londonandpartners.com
#LondonIsOpen will show the world that London remains entrepreneurial, international, and full of creativity and possibility, while reassuring the more than one million foreign nationals who live in London that they will always be welcome, and that any form of discrimination will not be tolerated.
The Mayor is urging all Londoners, organisations and businesses to show their support for the #LondonIsOpen message via social media, through other creative ways. The starting idea for the campaign is built around London opening its doors to welcome people in, and will encourage people to use this as a platform for their own contributions.
Google internal data was categorised by destination city for 1st January 2017 - 1st July 2017. This was compared to the same period last year.
The top 10 most searched destinations for city and short breaks are:
A Tourism Vision for London
London & Partners has collaborated with more than 100 of the capital’s tourism leaders, including the Greater London Authority, Gatwick Airport, Hilton and the Association of
Leading Visitor Attractions (ALVA), to define a new vision for London’s tourism industry.
As a combined force, we believe that if this vision is realised, tourism will drive economic growth and stimulate the city’s cultural scene, support even greater numbers of jobs and
strengthen London’s reputation as an open and welcoming city.
Research: Visitor Exchange Rates
London & Partners commissioned Populus Data Solutions to conduct an online survey amongst US and French residents. The research was conducted w/c 7th August. Results are based on a sample of 2,005 people. Nationally representative quotas were set for age, gender and region, and all respondents had to hold a current passport and have travelled internationally for leisure over the last 3 years.