London’s economy has roared back from the impact of the pandemic, with more than 300,000 additional tourists visiting the city and spending £162m so far in 2023.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has also today revealed that over the last three years, his ‘Let’s Do London’ campaign – which encouraged tourists to visit the capital following the pandemic – has attracted over 850,000 additional visitors, who in turn contributed £360m to London’s economy.
Around 16 million people visit London every year.
This summer has been hugely successful for London, with a massive return of visitors enjoying the capital’s offering of attractions, gigs, events and fashion with the recent reopening of the National Portrait Gallery, the complete rehang of Tate Britain, and the opening of the new Young V&A children’s museum in East London which has doubled in attendance since reopening and renaming.
In one week in July a plethora of musical talent – from the British Summer Time Festival in Hyde Park and Greenwich Summer Sounds to performances by Lana Del Rey, the Weeknd, and Blur– performed in London, bringing in more than £320million to the capital in ticket sales and secondary spend.
This included sold-out arena gigs and smaller grassroots venues all across the capital.
Last month, the fashion industry – which employs nearly 900,000 people in the UK and contributes around £21 billion to the UK economy –was boosted by London Fashion Week enjoying its largest schedule since the pandemic and the star-studded Vogue World: London event raising £2m for London-based arts organisations.
This month the capital is expected to host even more visitors as the BFI London Film Festival, the 20th anniversary of Frieze London, the 30th anniversary of the EFG London Jazz Festival, the London Literature Festival and the first major UK exhibition mapping the design evolution of the skateboard all take place.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan hailed this success as he joined leaders from across London and the UK’s visitor attractions at the 20th anniversary of the UK Visitor Attractions Conference.
Earlier this year, the Mayor joined more than 300 brands in signing a letter to the chancellor saying the UK is “losing out” due to the decision to remove VAT-free tourist shopping, with the impact already hitting some London brands.
The Mayor said “I’m delighted that our Let’s Do London campaign has been an enormous success and it’s amazing to see tourists flocking back to the city to enjoy all there is to offer.
“We’ve had a brilliant summer and welcomed millions of tourists to our great city to enjoy a wide array of performances, events, and exhibitions but we could be welcoming so many more shoppers if the Government would support us.
“Once again, I am urging ministers to reverse their decision to scrap VAT free shopping for international visitors. By doing so they could remove a major competitive disadvantage for the London and the UK and help make us even more appealing to tourists.”