A £6 million domestic tourism campaign – ‘Let’s Do London’ – aims to encourage visits to revitalise the capital as Covid restrictions are lifted from Monday.
Hailed by newly re-elected mayor Sadiq Khan as the city’s biggest ever promotional push, it brings together hospitality, culture, nightlife and retail venues to highlight all London has to offer.
A programme of seasonal events and cultural activities has been designed to suit a range of age groups during all four seasons, kicking off with a promotion of food from later this month.
There will also be new exhibitions, family-friendly experiences, theatre shows, sporting events, festivals and pop-up food and drink sites.
With restrictions on international travel likely to continue over the coming months, the campaign aims to provide inspirational reasons for Londoners, day-trippers and overnight visitors to return to the capital.
Analysis of forecasts by VisitBritain showed that consumer spending in central London by overseas tourists was £7.4 billion down in 2020, while domestic tourists will have spent £3.5 billion less.
The mayor has allocated £6 million to directly support the new campaign, in addition to industry contributing more than £1 million in funding and value-in-kind.
The campaign will include a major advertising push supported by London & Partners and Transport for London, alongside new content on the Visit London website.
New public art installations will also attract people back into London from this month.
The summer will see a programme of family fun, designed to make London a great choice for a staycation.
‘London Lates’ over the summer months will see extended opening hours across museums, galleries and cultural and grassroots music venues. Shakespeare’s Globe, for example, will stage ‘Midnight Matinees’ with performances starting at 11.59pm.
The capital will also host eight games in UEFA Euro 2020, including the semi-finals and the final at Wembley.
June will also see the return of the tennis championships at Wimbledon, a new cricket competition The Hundred, followed by the Rugby League World Cup and London Marathon later this year.
Major creative festivals will return in the autumn, such as London Fashion Week, Frieze London, the London Design Festival, and the 65th BFI London Film Festival.
New West End theatre productions unclude Back to the Future, Hairspray and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella.
Disney’s Frozen the Musical will be staged from August at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
Khan described the promotion as “the biggest domestic tourism campaign London has ever seen to champion our businesses, cultural institutions and attractions that have suffered so much during the pandemic”.
He added: “This is about getting the message out to Londoners and people across the country that our capital stands ready to entertain, inspire and enthral once again.
“Our new campaign is bringing together many of the capital’s leading organisations and venues to offer an unparalleled experience for anyone visiting the capital throughout the year.
“With restrictions on international travel likely to continue this year, Londoners and visitors from the UK have a unique opportunity to experience all the capital has to offer without the queues. In doing so you’ll be providing vital support for our world-leading venues as they start to re-open and need our help more than ever.”
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls: “It is incredibly encouraging that the mayor has wasted no time after his re-election to make tourism a clear and immediate priority.
“The Let’s Do London campaign is a shot in the arm to help revive the capital’s ravaged visitor economy.
“With such limited international travel, the immediate priority is to remind Britons that one of the world’s top tourist destinations is on their doorstep. We look forward to working with the mayor and his office to revive employment, hospitality and tourism in London.”
Bernard Donoghue, director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions and co-chair, London Tourism Recovery Board, added: “London’s visitor economy has been hit hard over the last year and we’ve all missed our theatres, museums, galleries, performances venues and heritage properties. Without them London has just felt less ‘Londony’.
“But this summer we can reclaim, rediscover and fall back in love with these special places. They will all be contributing to a summer and a year like no other when the visitor experience will be phenomenal, the welcome never warmer and the importance of London’s attractions, culture and tourism economy never better appreciated.”