World Tourism Day 2017: Travel industry backs London as weaker pound powers boom

Alys Key
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London's tourism and hospitality industry has boomed this year (Source: The May Fair Hotel)

Big players in the travel and tourism industry brushed off Brexit fears to herald London as a top destination today, as the sector celebrated World Tourism Day.

Dana Dunne, chief executive of eDreams Odigeo, told City A.M. that weaker sterling "has been very attractive", boosting visitor numbers to the capital.

According to eDreams figures, this summer saw an eight per cent year on year increase in flight passenger arrivals into London.

This coincides with figures released by the ONS last week that showed more tourists came to the UK in July than ever before.

Dunne's comments were echoed by Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of the New West End Company, who said: “Since the vote to leave the European Union, tourists have been flocking to the West End to take advantage of the weaker pound."

Last year international tourists accounted for a third of the £9bn spent in the West End.

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Inderneel Singh, managing director of The May Fair Hotel, who wrote in City A.M. yesterday about the strength of London's tourism industry, said: “The tourism and hospitality sector is recognised as one of the most significant forces in the capital’s economy, which should be celebrated on World Tourism Day.

"The #LondonIsOpen campaign demonstrates our resilience and continued welcoming nature, with London’s first-rate sporting events, entertainment, food and shopping continuing to attract tourists from around the world in their droves.”

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Matt Hill, hospitality and retail policy director of London First, agreed, saying: “We have record numbers of overseas visitors in 2017, and the fundamental appeal of London’s culture, heritage and shopping won’t change post-Brexit."

But he added that the right deal needed to be made in talks with the EU, because "we can’t sustain that growth without hardworking Londoners from the EU who underpin our tourism industry, and we can’t sustain it if we make it hard for tourists to get here. It’s the projected £7bn of extra tourist spending over the next decade that’s at stake."

Earlier this week, the founder of Safestay hostels told City A.M. that both terror and Brexit have "no impact" on his hostel business. Dunne said today that eDreams had similarly seen no impact after terror attacks in London, while Tyrrell called London "one of the safest destinations in the world".

Read more: London's hotel boom will continue into 2018, a new report says

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