London/England ‘Tourism Divide’ discussed at conference

London/England 'Tourism Divide' discussed at conference

Experts have been talking about ways to tackle a growing gap between London tourism growth and that seen in other parts of England, as part of a conference event at the International Festival for Business 2014.

Helen Grant MP, the tourism minister, and Lord Shipley OBE, Regional Growth Fund Independent Advisory Panel deputy chair were among those who spoke at the event, according to a VisitEngland announcement published in the lead up to it.  

The conference, called Mind the Gap: Addressing the Tourism Divide, comes after London attracted 16 million international visitors last year.

Office for National Statistics Passenger Survey data shows a growing gap between London growth and rest-of-England growth.

While inbound trips to places in England outside of London remain four per cent under the level seen pre-recession, those to London have gone up 14 per cent this side of 2008.

Spending has gone up 16 per cent of areas outside London, and 39 per cent for the capital.

London now has a 61 per cent share of England's inbound spending, against 57 per cent in 2008. 

"The growth of tourism into London is good news for our national economy. London will continue to grow as a destination as more and more tourists want to come," commented Lord Shipley.

"We now need to embrace the opportunity this presents to boost tourism outside London."

He said that means promoting regional airports as well as making tourists from other parts of the world better aware of attractions that are available country-wide "with ready-made packages they can take up before they leave home."

Helen Grant, tourism minister, has said: "I want to do all I can to help encourage visitors to enjoy not just London but to explore and enjoy destinations across the country."

Berkeley Scott is a specialist hospitality recruitment agency.