Sadiq Khan has joined some of the capital’s leading cultural figures to relaunch the London Is Open campaign following the recent terrorist attacks and Grenfell Tower disaster.
Tourism bosses hope to appeal to potential tourists who might have concerns about coming to central London with a message that “this is a great moment to visit the West End”.
West End leaders have installed 374 flags on nine streets over four and a half miles of central London’s shopping district adorned with the message “Everyone Welcome” — written in the 12 languages of the top 10 visitor countries, including Chinese, Thai, Russian, Hindi and Japanese. Bookings have dipped since the Westminster and London Bridge atrocities and the catastrophic blaze in North Kensington made headlines around the world, but the fall is said to be “not dramatic”.
The Mayor today launched a new website dedicated to things to do in the West End in the summer. At the launch Mr Khan was joined by composer Andrew Lloyd Webber, designer Charlotte Olympia, artist and Keeper of the Royal Academy Eileen Cooper, architect Farshid Moussavi, executive chef at the City’s Duck and Waffle restaurant Dan Doherty and publisher of British GQ Vanessa Kingori.
The London Is Open campaign was first launched by the Mayor in the wake of the Brexit referendum vote to allay fears that London was no longer as welcoming to foreign visitors.
Tom Jenkins, chief executive of the European Tourism Association, said: “It is inevitable that recent events cause concern within the tourism industry. Our understanding is that new bookings are affected, but not dramatically, and such downturns are usually short and getting shorter. London is open and its appeal is enhanced by the depreciation in sterling. This is a great moment to visit the West End.”
Jace Tyrrell, chief executive of New West End Company, which represents traders in and around Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street, said: “With the summer tourism season in full swing and £1 billion set to be spent, there is no better time of year to discover and explore the West End.”