Business leaders call for coordinated campaign to boost footfall in the capital

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Business leaders call for coordinated campaign to support hospitality and tourism in London return to offices

Related tags Coronavirus London ukhospitality

Hospitality business leaders operating in London have warned that the sector is at 'real risk of failure' unless there is a coordinated campaign to encourage tourists and office workers back.

In a letter sent to both Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, the businesses demand the two leaders to put politics aside and deliver a coordinated campaign to support businesses reliant in these income streams and help save potentially tens of thousands of jobs.

It says that though the Eat Out to Help Out scheme has brought welcome relief to many more businesses in outer London and beyond, there is 'a growing disparity' between central London and the rest of the UK.

The letter claims that while hospitality businesses in other parts of the UK are now taking above 70% of their pre coronavirus revenue, in London business has been 'decimated', with some 'struggling to hit double figures in comparable trading levels'. 

It cites a recent forecast by Visit Britain for inbound tourism to the UK in 2020, which predicts a decline of 73% in visits to 11m and a decline of 79% in spending from nearly £30bn to £6bn.

More than 90 business leaders from across the hospitality and tourism sector including Azzurri CEO Steve Holmes, PizzaExpress managing director Zoe Bowley, and UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls have signed the letter, which calls on the Government and City Hall to collaborate on a campaign that delivers a 'strong and desperately needed message that London is open for Londoners, commuters and leisure visitors'.

“London needs its workers and tourism to survive," says Nicholls.

"Unless action is taken to get people back into the city, hospitality and tourism businesses, retail, leisure and supply chain businesses, which combine to provide 20% of all employment in London, will be ruined. 

“This goes beyond politics.

"There must be a joined-up plan from both the Government in Westminster and the Mayor’s Office to get London back up and running again.

"Otherwise, we will see widespread job losses and the destruction of years of progress in establishing London as one of the world’s leading cities for commerce and tourism.”

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