Sadiq Khan has announced plans for London’s biggest ever domestic tourism campaign while signing on for his second term as mayor of London.
In a ceremony on Monday 10 May at Shakespeare’s Globe, Khan launched Let’s Do London: his push for London’s economic recovery following the easing of Covid restrictions, in partnership with the city's hospitality, culture and retail industries.
The campaign will encourage visitors and residents to come back into central London following lockdown and will include a programme of special events in collaboration with some of the city's cultural institutions and tourism attractions.
Khan has allocated £6m to directly support the new campaign, with industry partners additionally contributing over £1m in funding and value-in-kind. The campaign will include an advertising push and new content on the Visit London website, outlining what the capital has to offer to both Londoners and tourists.
Speaking at the Globe, Khan said: “It’s an honour to have been re-elected with a huge mandate as mayor of the city I love – the greatest city in the world. The work begins anew today to refresh and reignite our city and to kick-start our economy as London continues to reopen.
“Today I am at the iconic Shakespeare's Globe to launch Let’s Do London – 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. 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.”
As summer approaches, a variety of exhibitions will launch at museums across the capital, alongside many family-friendly activities. The Natural History Museum will welcome visitors to Fantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature from 17 May, and the V&A’s Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser, an immersive theatrical show, will open on 22 May. In August, families will be able to visit a Roman encampment on the front lawns of the British Museum.
London Lates over the summer months will see extended opening hours at museums, galleries and other cultural venues, and new collaborations will celebrate London’s film and music, working in partnership with London’s grassroot venues, LGBTQ+ venues and nightclubs.
Dan Wolfe, commercial director at Historic Royal Palaces, said: “We’re delighted to be involved with the mayor’s much-needed Let’s Do London campaign. With restrictions on international travel likely to have an impact on inbound tourism to the capital for the foreseeable future, it’s right that our focus should be on attracting domestic visitors to London.
“There’s never been a better time to visit and we have an exciting summer planned at the palaces – from a fashion exhibition at Kensington Palace, to our Knight School for families at the Tower of London. We hope that this campaign will encourage visitors back to our sites to discover London’s fascinating history and, in doing so, support organisations like ours as we begin to rebuild and recover.”
Outdoor art will also change the landscape of central London for visitors. Artist David Hockney has redesigned Transport for London’s iconic roundel to create Hockney Circus, part of an art takeover of Piccadilly Circus Station and Piccadilly Lights, while designer Yinka Ilori will lead on Asphalt Art, a series of new temporary streetscape commissions.
A partnership between Royal Academy artists and the Heart of London Business Alliance Art of London programme will also see road crossings and street furniture in the West End transformed into art.
Bernard Donoghue, director of the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions and co-chair of the London Tourism Recovery Board, said: “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. We thank the mayor, his team and partners for all they have done in working with us to help London recover better. Let's Do London.”
In his speech Khan also confirmed that a top priority for his second term as Mayor will be “jobs, jobs, jobs”, putting investment in employment and skills at the centre of his plans.
Let's Do London begins this month, with many cultural and hospitality venues in England able to reopen their indoor areas from 17 May.
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