STAYCATIONS SOAR AS 8.5 MILLION UK TOURISTS SET TO VISIT LONDON
Visitors represent huge opportunity for London’s small businesses
According to figures released today, by the end of 2009 we will see around 8.5 million British tourists descend on the capital, spending an average of nearly £300 each during their stay.
The figures, from a poll commissioned by Business Link in London, have highlighted the growing draw of the nation’s capital as the staycation trend takes hold. The East Midlands was revealed as having a particular love affair with London holidays - almost one in four (22%) from the region reported that they have either been on or are planning a break to the city this year.
The study comes as good news for London’s retail and leisure industries. Business Link in London has urged small and medium sized businesses to make sure they get their fair share of this domestic tourist trade as the trend is predicted to continue into next year.
Patrick Elliott, Chief Executive of Business Link in London, said: “Tourism represents a huge opportunity for London’s small businesses and this year is no exception. With so many UK tourists visiting London now and into the future, it is vital small businesses do all they can to make the most of the market, especially hotels, restaurants and retailers. Tourists can be incredibly discerning customers, so if London’s small businesses are to meet their expectations, careful thought and planning is needed.
“Restaurants may want to reflect the diversity of London in their menus, or perhaps highlight the quality local produce they use to attract tourists. Customer service and sharing local knowledge will be particularly important for hotels, acting as guides to a city that has many secret gems. For retailers, matching stock to weather predictions can be an effective way of generating tourist business – selling umbrellas just when that September shower is approaching can pay big dividends.”
Sally Chatterjee, Interim CEO of Visit London said: "These findings support our own research which shows London's appeal is just as strong as ever. With new attractions like The 02 and refurbishments at The Merlin Entertainments London Eye and the London Aquarium on top of our fantastic free national museums, there's never been a better time to visit the capital for pleasure or business. Tourism means business and is vital to the capital's economy and small businesses throughout the city. We should continue to promote into this opportunity to make the most of London's ongoing popularity."
Small and medium sized businesses have a huge role to play in supporting London’s economy. They make up 99.8% of all London business and with annual turnover exceeding £368 billion, the sector also accounts for almost half of all employment in London.
Small businesses wishing to find out more about targeting tourist customers can get help and advice from Business Link in London. Business Link in London is a free and impartial business advisory service available to small and medium sized businesses. The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through a dedicated telephone enquiry line and website or face to face at an event, local business surgeries or at your premises. For more information, visit www.businesslink.gov.uk/london or call 0845 6000 787.
The survey of 1004 UK adults was carried out by ComRes from 7th -9th August. Data were weighted to be representative demographically of all GB adults. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Population figures have been extrapolated using original results.