It is suggested that UK could lose £60 million a day through a slump in tourism. London’s Tourism industry accounts for one in seven jobs in the capital. This, in the short and long term also means a deep decline in the viability of various sectors including retail, leisure, creative, culture and hotels etc. Experts within the tourism industry agree that the tourism sector needs much greater and specific support from Government. How far has the Government recognised this and do you think there is adequate support available from Government for a sustained recovery?
No, the support made available by the Government is not sufficient to deal with the scale of the crisis facing London’s hospitality, retail, leisure and cultural sectors which are highly dependent on international tourism. Whilst I welcomed the extension of the furlough scheme to next March, we need further action now to limit the economic damage to the capital. I have recently called for a special payment to businesses in hospitality and cultural sectors to compensate for lost income over the festive period.
Businesses need to be able to access support via Local Restrictions Support Grants and Discretionary Grants. I have requested an extension to the business rates holiday for retail, leisure and hospitality businesses which was due to end in March 2021. I have also asked the government to abandon their decision to end the Retail Export Scheme which is hugely important in attracting international visitors.
When the restrictions can be safely eased, London’s tourism-dependent industries will need support to increase consumer confidence and footfall by promoting the capital to both Londoners and domestic tourists from the rest of the UK. Then when international travel restrictions are eased, to international tourists. Since the Summer, London & Partners have been running the ‘#Because I’m a Londoner’ campaign, backed by an alliance of London businesses, to build confidence and encourage consumer spending.