London is set to attract rapidly growing tourist numbers over the next eight years, prompting the mayor to launch a new plan that aims to ensure sustainable growth across the industry.
More than 40 million people are expected to visit the capital a year by 2025 – a rise of 30% from the 31.2 million arrivals to the capital in 2016.
A new report by London mayor Sadiq Khan and Visit London projects visitor spending will grow by almost 50% to £22 billion a year by then, up from £14.9 billion last year.
Presenting the 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.
London’s tourism sector, which is worth 11.6% 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 London, tourists have continued to flock to the city
Figures compiled by travel database Forward Keys seen by London business newspaper City A.M. showed that total overseas visitors between January and July grew 9% compared with the previous year.
The firm projects total overseas visitor numbers to be up 7.7% 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 103% growth.
India, the US and the United Arab Emirates are also quickly growing as tourists take advantage of the weak pound.