In 2015 London was announced as the most visited cultural destination in the world. No.1. Top dog. Job done? Not quite. London has always led by continually innovating and setting cultural trends. Pausing isn’t an option. 90% of London’s visitors follow the path of least resistance (but most congestion) and head to the top 20 attractions. London is so much more, both centrally and when striking out a little further. If encouraging people to explore, London has to then be navigable so that visitors can find the great stuff, the new stuff, in a city where Time Out lists 150,000 events across 55,000 venues daily.
We produced a cultural tourism vision for the city, which we continued to support the Mayor of London’s Culture Team through publication, but also with advocacy, training, workshops and toolkits. The vision focused on the real London (where tourists feel like Londoners and locals can feel like visitors), brimming with distinctiveness and authenticity.
For its Cultural Tourism Vision & Strategy for London, we successfully aligned economic development strategies for a range of agencies (including VisitBritain and London & Partners) and those for each of the capital’s boroughs, to support a tourism investment and visitor dispersal strategy that would deliver for the whole city. It responded to the market’s increasing demand for quality immersive experiences, surprising niche discoveries and a new approach to creating content to share it all. Subsequent work in places like Royal Greenwich have taken this forward, generating new public-private sector investment and partnerships, and growing visitor markets for parts of the city often overshadowed by the central London offer.
James Berresford, (former) Chief Executive, VisitEngland
Four out of five travellers say 'culture' is their main reason for coming to London and cultural tourists spend £7.3 billion a year, generating £3.2 billion for our economy and supporting 80,000 jobs in the capital.
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