Government told to reconsider London’s tourism cuts

Members of the tourism industry and the British Hospitality Association (BHA) have written to the government urging them to rethink the London tourism cuts.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, Business Secretary Vince Cable and Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, have all received letters from the organisations encouraging them to reconsider the decision to make cuts to London’s tourism industry ahead of the Olympic Games.

In the letters, which were sent over the past week, the groups warn that Visit London could face closure after its £12m annual funding was cut as part of the government’s spending review. As reported by Big Hospitality, in their letter to the Mayor and business secretary, BHA highlight the fact that Visit London is the capital’s marketing organisation. The letter also stated that the organisation plays a crucial role in encouraging both leisure tourists and business visitors to the city, who often travel to the capital’s various meeting venues.

Ufi Ibrahim BHA’s chief executive said: “We are therefore very concerned that funding to promote London is in danger of ceasing altogether in March next year, not least with the Olympics fast approaching. Without a tourist board, London will lose out badly as a world tourism destination in the coming years.”

In a separate letter, leading hospitality businesses urged the Business Secretary and the Chancellor of the Exchequer to meet with Boris Johnson in an effort to identify alternative funding sources for Visit London. Figures released by the organisation indicated that the work carried out delivers a return investment of £300m in annual tourism spend in the capital.

At present Visit London receives £11.7m in public funding but the government’s spending cuts means Visit London’s primary funding source would be removed after March 31st 2011.