VisitLondon, the capital’s marketing organsation, has merged with other promotional agencies to create one flagship group – London & Partners – as part of the government’s efforts to cut costs and streamline activities.
The new agency was officially launched this month by London Mayor Boris Johnson, and combines the former groups VisitLondon, Think London and Study London.
Its remit is to combine all major promotional activities for the capital and deliver a single strategy to attract tourism, inward investment and international students to London.
The move comes after massive cuts were announced last year in the government’s spending review, resulting in the need to cut back funding across government organisations.
However, a spokesperson for London & Partners told BigHospitality that the marketing of London will not be negatively impacted by the funding cutbacks as the new structure of London & Partners streamlines administration activities and ensures that existing funds are better utilized.
“The remit of London & Partners is the same as that of the former agencies that have created it, and tourism is a key part of that remit.
“We will continue to work with the hotels in the same way, and in terms of logistics our hotel partners will still be able to contact us using the same phone numbers.”
London & Partners is funded by the Greater London Authority (GLA), and will receive a grant of £40m a year for the next four years, after which point the funding will be reviewed once more.
The budget for VisitLondon, which had been provided by GLA through the London Development Agency (LDA) had been £11.7m for the financial year 2010/11.
Figures provided by London & Partners set total spend from overseas visitors in the capital at £8.32bn. London attracts 14m overseas visitors, as well as 10.8m overnight domestic visitors.
By 2012, the capital is set to have 100,000 hotel rooms, said London & Partners.
“London is an extraordinary place of opportunity and without doubt the best big city to visit, study and invest in,” said Boris Johnson.
“With so many landmark events on the horizon, from the Olympics and Paralympic Games, to the Royal Wedding and Diamond Jubilee, this is really an exciting time for us to promote London with a single voice.
“We have an incredible story to tell and by harnessing our resources under one roof I believe we can become an even stronger magnet for tourists, students and investors in the coming decades.”
The interim chair of London & Partners is Dame Judith Mayhew Jonas, chairman of the New West End Company and former chairman of the Royal Opera House. Travelodge’s Grant Hearn is also on the board of the new agency.