ETOA welcomes the news that the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson has announced a £14m per annum four-year funding deal for a new promotion agency for London. This will bring together the work of the existing agencies for tourism, inward investment, and international students and aims to champion the capital as one of the world’s best big cities.
Think London, Visit London and Study London will be brought together under the new umbrella agency from April 1st 2011. The single agency will enable the Mayor to take a more co-ordinated and strategic approach to international promotion. Its working title is Promote London, and it will lead on promoting the capital in the run up to and during the 2012 Games. The news follows a recent announcement that the London Development Agency – which funded Visit London – was to be scrapped. The Greater London Authority was expected to absorb Visit London’s functions and take its £11.7m annual budget with it, but the money allocation “fell through the cracks”.
Tom Jenkins, Executive Director of ETOA, said: “This joint body now serves three functions, with barely the budget of one. It is thus a severe cut in funding for tourism promotion for the capital. Yet any funding is welcome, and in this climate it is to be regarded as a reprieve: for a while we thought we may have no body representing the interests of the tourism industry.
City tourist offices help the promotion and co-ordination of a disparate industry: they do something that rivals in the private sector don’t do. And London needs a tourism agency: the Olympic Games are barely 18 months away. You may think these are good news, or you may agree with ETOA that they are disruptive for tourism. In either case we need a body to co-ordinate information and act as a broker in what will be a tumultuous period for the capital.”