Sadiq Khan announces the new Tourism Vision campaign
The Mayor of London and London & Partners, which runs visitlondon.com, has launched a bold new vision to bolster the capital's status as a world-class tourist destination.
The Tourism Vision for London, which is backed by more than 100 industry partners and supported by the Mayor of London, suggests that tourism numbers in London are set to rise sharply by 2025.
Projections show that visitor numbers could top 40 million a year, an increase of 30% on current levels, with tourism spending projected to hit £22bn a year - up by 50%.
China and India are likely to be the fastest growing markets for tourism in London, with visitor numbers from China growing by more than 100% by 2025 and India rising by 90%.
The surge in visitors could be boosted in the short-term by currency fluctuations. Separate research from London & Partners shows that around two thirds of international visitors say they are more likely to visit London given more favourable currency rates.
However, the Tourism Vision states that the growth in visitor numbers is not a given with increasing competition from other destinations fighting to attract new visitors and other challenges such as continued access to talent, the supply of new hotel rooms and aviation capacity that could constrain growth.
It recommends greater investment in pre-visit promotion to attract more first-time visitors, boosting visitor numbers in off-peak periods and harnessing technology to allow visitors to make more of their visit and see more of the city.
London & Partners' findings coincide with data from Google that reveals the British 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 number of searches up by 17% year-on-year. London also tops Google's search rankings for global cities to fly to.
The Tourism Vision and this year's Autumn Season, which shines a spotlight on the best events taking place across the capital in the months ahead, were launched by the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
Khan said: "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 reasons visitors come to London. As the capital launches 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 London.
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.
The Autumn Season will 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."
The Autumn Season was formally launched at London's Natural History Museum. 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."