London's tourism industry 'may never recover' from the collapse in business caused by lockdown

"We ran one bus with a handful of passengers," said David Stafford, Executive Vice President, Big Bus London

London's tourist industry today warned the Prime Minister it might never recover from the collapse in business caused by lockdown.

Key players including hotel chains and tourist attractions urged Boris Johnson to fund a massive marketing campaign to promote the capital.

Bosses of 45 organisations also called on him to extend the business rates 'holiday' introduced at the start of the crisis.

In a letter they claimed 'London's tourism sector may sink to a place from which it cannot return.'

Empty London Eye capsules during lockdown

Firms including London Eye owner Merlin Entertainments, booking agency and Marriott Hotels said London was facing an economic crisis.More than 700,000 Londoners are normally employed in businesses which rely on visitors to the capital.

We’re launching SOS London with a wide selection of industry partners to take collective action and ensure the London tourism sector survives. London is practically empty and there is no concrete plan for recovery in place. If the UK Government does not act now, we will see one of the biggest missed opportunities on Britain’s road to recovery and prosperity.

Sunny Jouhal, General Manager of the London Eye
Chief Yeoman Warder Peter McGowran sets out ropes for a one-way system at the Tower of London

Having spoken to a diverse range of business owners in my Vauxhall constituency, the fact remains that cafes, restaurants, hotels and attractions are struggling to keep their business afloat. If the government does not take immediate action, the long-term prosperity of the area will be under threat and we risk losing fantastic businesses people know and love.

Florence Eshalomi, Labour MP for Vauxhall

Florence Eshalomi added that the London tourism industry was "fundamental to the economic recovery of the capital."