As London tourism booms, Sadiq Khan sets a vision for sustained growth

Courtney Goldsmith
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London is set to be packed with more and more tourists over the next eight years (Source: Getty)

London is set to welcome a rapidly growing number of tourists over the next eight years, prompting the mayor to launch a new plan that aims to ensure sustainable growth across the industry.

By 2025, more than 40m people are expected to visit the capital a year - that's up 30 per cent from the 31.2m visitors who came to London in 2016.

A new report by London mayor Sadiq Khan and Visit London projects visitor spending will grow by almost 50 per cent to £22bn a year by that year, up from £14.9bn in 2016.

Presenting the so-called tourism vision last night, Khan said: “It’s important that all Londoners benefit from a growth in tourism."

Key recommendations from the report include promoting travel during off-peak periods and investing in information to allow tourists to explore more of the city.

"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," Khan said.

Read more: Hilton Hotels backs UK tourism with plans for more than 30 British hotels

London's tourism sector, which is worth 11.6 per cent of the capital's GDP, employs 700,000 people, or one in seven jobs.

The report also says investment in cultural infrastructure, improving visitor amenities and harnessing digital technology will be essential in ensuring London can sustain and accommodate the growing number of visitors. Developing the infrastructure for business visits will also be important in ensuring the city remains attractive for event organisers and delegates.

Despite deadly terror attacks in the city that spurred tourism chiefs to gather for emergency meetings, tourists have continued to visit the city in droves with top destinations largely unaffected.

Figures compiled by travel database Forward Keys seen exclusively by City A.M. showed that total overseas visitors between January and July 2017 grew nine per cent compared with the previous year. The firm projects total overseas visitor numbers to be up 7.7 per cent in August to October 2017, compared with the previous year.

Khan's tourism report found visitors from China are expected to grow at the fastest rate by 2025 with a stunning 103 per cent growth. India, the US and the United Arab Emirates were also quickly growing as tourists take advantage of the weak pound.

Read more: City boosted by business tourism demand

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