London Mayor Sadiq Khan yesterday (Monday) announced plans for a £6m domestic tourism campaign, with a programme of one-off special events created in partnership with the capital city’s cultural institutions and tourism attractions.
The ‘Let’s Do London’ campaign aims to boost the city’s culture, hospitality and retail economies as it reopens following COVID-19 closures.
The initiative, which will push to get people back to concerts, cinemas, museums and restaurants, will kick off later this month with the capital’s hospitality venues coming together to promote London’s food offer.
In addition, new public art installations will be created to attract people back into London from this month, with David Hockney, one of the UK’s most influential living artists, having redesigned TfL’s iconic roundel ‘Hockney Circus’ in a special artwork as part of a takeover of Piccadilly Circus Station, starting yesterday.
There will also be the launch of ‘London Lates’ over the summer months that will see extended opening across museums, galleries and cultural and grassroots music venues. Shakespeare’s Globe will stage ‘Midnight Matinees’ with performances starting at 11.59pm, and an invitation to get back to the big screen will see outdoor film screenings curated by BAFTA and the British Film Institute.
The announcement was made as Khan was formally signed in for a second term as mayor on stage at the iconic Shakespeare’s Globe following his victory in last week’s election.
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. This includes making jobs, jobs, jobs a top priority and banging the drum for London to attract the jobs, tourism and investment our city needs.
“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.”
The government’s roadmap out of lockdown was first announced in February, with May 17 having been outlined as the earliest possible date for Step 3 to come into effect. The decision to move to Step 3 from next week has been made as COVID-19 infection rates fall and vaccination roll-out continues across the country.
The easing of restrictions will see the majority of the indoor and remaining outdoor economy reopen. Other outdoor events such as conferences, theatre and concert performances will also be permitted. Up to 10,000 fans or 25 per cent capacity, whichever is lower, will be permitted at outdoor venues. For indoor venues, the limit will be 1,000 or 50 per cent, whichever is lower
Step 4 of the roadmap will come into effect no earlier than June 21 and would potentially allow larger events to take place with no legal limits on social contact.
The autumn will welcome back major festivals, such as London Fashion Week, Frieze London, the London Design Festival, and the 65th BFI London Film Festival, before the return of major events and attractions over the winter.
In addition, London is gearing up to play host to the delayed UEFA European Championships at Wembley Stadium. The tournament will take place from June 11 to July 11, 2021, with the national stadium to host the two semi-finals and the final, among other games.
Khan said: “There will be further exciting announcements across the year to showcase London’s world class nightlife, cultural attractions and hospitality businesses as well as the city’s grassroots venues and how creative freelancers, artists and performers will be at the heart of the programme as it continues to develop.”
Khan has allocated £6m to directly support the new campaign, in addition to industry contributing over £1m in funding and value-in-kind. The campaign will include a major advertising push supported by London & Partners and TfL.
London’s economy has suffered greatly due to the pandemic, with City Hall analysis of forecasts by VisitBritain showing that consumer spending in central London by overseas tourists was £7.4bn lower throughout 2020, while domestic tourists will have spent £3.5bn less.
“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,” Khan added.
“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.”