MD2478 London & Partners – Domestic Tourism Consortium

Type of decision: 
Mayoral decision
Date signed: 
21 June 2019
Decision by: 
Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London

Executive summary

Tourism plays a vital role in London’s economy. The sector employs 700,000 people – one in seven of the capital’s jobs – and accounts for 11.6 per cent of the capital’s GDP. International visits to London have increased during each of the past five years but there has been a decline in the number of visitors from around the UK who visit the capital. Day visits to London reduced by three per cent year-on-year in 2017, from 337m, to 327m.

This MD seeks approval to commit £600,000 towards the coordination of a public-private ‘Domestic Tourism Consortium’ led by the tourism industry to help promote London to a UK audience. Funded over two years, this will create a platform to run dedicated campaigns designed to address the recent decline in domestic visitors. London & Partners Limited (L&P) will co-ordinate this on behalf of the Greater London Authority.

L&P is the Mayor of London’s official promotional agency, which exists to support the Mayor’s priorities by promoting London internationally as a leading city in which to invest, work, study and visit. This separate, additional funding will be used specifically to facilitate the promotion of the capital to domestic tourists, which is not part of L&P’s remit currently.


That the Mayor approves:

£600,000 of funding to London & Partners to coordinate an industry-led public-private ‘Domestic Tourism Consortium’ to help promote London to a UK audience over two financial years:

• 2019-20 - £320,000
• 2020-21 - £280,000

Part 1: Non-confidential facts and advice

Introduction and background

Tourism plays a vital role in London’s economy. The sector employs 700,000 people – one in seven of the capital’s jobs – and accounts for 11.6 per cent of the capital’s GDP (Deloitte & Oxford Economics, 2013). It also strengthens London’s reputation as an open and welcoming city and is central to the city’s soft power. The sector is a key contributor to London’s diverse cultural and retail offer as well as the night time economy, and benefits both visitors and Londoners.

But while international visits to London have increased during each of the past five years, there has been a decline in the number of visitors from around the UK who visit the capital for just one day. Day visits to London reduced by three per cent year-on-year in 2017, from 337m, to 327m. During this time, spend from day visits reduced considerably, by approximately 13 per cent from £14.4bn to £12.6bn (source: Great Britain Day Visit Survey, Visit Britain.)

The drop in domestic tourism is having a negative impact on businesses across a number of sectors - attractions, food and beverage and retail; on London’s cultural offering (galleries, theatre, music etc); and on TfL revenue (source: London BIDs, Association of Leading Visitor Attractions, TfL).

In December 2018, at the suggestion of the Mayor, Business Improvement Districts and key stakeholders from the London tourism industry convened to address this decline in domestic tourism. The group identified the following shared ambitions:

• To work together to promote domestic tourism in London by generating more demand through marketing and promotional activity;
• That the activity should be funded by a combination of public (GLA) and private sector contributions; and
• To use London & Partners (L&P), expanding its function beyond international promotion, to deliver the activity.

Funding background

L&P is funded by a combination of sources including a ‘core grant’ of £13.1m from the GLA in 2019/20, other grants, fees from its commercial partners, benefits in kind and income from its commercial activities.

The funding for the ‘Domestic Tourism Consortium’ is separate from L&Ps ‘core grant’ referenced above (see MD2449 - 19.03.19 - London & Partners 2019/20 Business Plan). The reason for this is domestic tourism is a new business line separate from the internationally focused work L&P have outlined in its business plan.

The decision to create and fund a Domestic Tourism Consortium came from members of the tourism industry suggesting that the GLA should play a strategic co-ordinating role in addressing the challenge.

L&P were identified as the best organisation to lead this work based on its extensive knowledge of the tourism industry and unique networks. For example, in 2017 L&P authored a ‘Tourism Vision for London’ which collaborated with more than 100 of the capital’s tourism leaders and defined a new vision for London’s tourism industry as a combined force.

L&P have agreed to convene the industry and manage the delivery of the activity on the basis it is funded by consortium partners. The GLA’s funding will enable L&P to provide governance & partner management to the consortium; insights & strategy through data and research; and online editorial content including web and social media. This is in addition to funding from consortium members which will be directed towards campaign activity.

The £600k funding will be payable over two financial years, noting that it is anticipated that the funding for the financial year 2020-21 will be available, subject to review following the Mayoral election.

Objectives and expected outcomes

The funding will support the following objectives and expected outcomes:





Expected Outcomes


Governance & Partner Management




  • Provide effective governance
  • Create a delivery structure and protocols
  • Provide partner relationship management



  • The Consortium has an agreed strategy, with a plan to fund and execute it


Insights & Strategy



  • Provide data and insights
  • Produce marketing strategy



  • We understand what influences domestic tourism demand and how to most effectively address the recent decline



Online channels



  • Provide user-centric content
  • Enable continuous investment in audience growth through search engine optimisation and pay-per-click
  • Enable marketing that aims to grow L&P owned audiences



  • We are using online channels with increasingly large, relevant and engaged audiences to inspire and inform domestic tourists


Marketing campaigns



  • Enable marketing campaigns informed by data and insights
  • Create clear objectives and KPIs for each campaign (possibly including spend/footfall/brand perception)
  • Enable campaigns across paid, owned, earned and partner channels
  • Provide central campaign management to coordinate agencies and partners


  • Marketing campaigns implemented that engage domestic tourists and trigger consideration of trips to London
Equality comments

Under s149 of the Equality Act 2010 (the Equality Act), as a public authority the Mayor must have due regard to the need to eliminate discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and any conduct that is prohibited by or under the Equality Act; and to advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people who share a relevant protected characteristic and those who do not.

The objective of any activity organised by L&P must be that it is open to all, irrespective of the protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act 2010; gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, maternity and age. L&P will ensure that inclusivity is included within all campaign activity undertaken by the consortium and the tender documents prepared for the marketing agency. The consortium’s web presence will also adopt the same accessibility standards as for the rest of the L&P family Throughout its work to coordinate the Domestic Tourism Consortium, L&P will aim to eliminate any discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between people, liaising with the relevant GLA teams for advice and guidance if required.

Other considerations

Key Risks and Issues


The following key risks have been identified:








(As a minimum for all High/High capture proposed mitigation) 


Consortium does not continue beyond year 1 due to lack of impact or insufficient funding from Consortium members 



Manage expectations of consortium, expert account and project management. 


Consortium does not hit key milestones



Strategic partners meeting monthly during set-up phase.  Recruitment for additional staff completed for L&P internal transfer and underway for external recruitment. L&P project plan set up to monitor progress.


Consortium does not agree on a shared agenda for the project resulting in sub-optimal campaigns.



L&P have already done a lot of work trying to establish a set of shared goals amongst industry through a high-level visioning workshop. A strategy board, comprised of representatives from the partners will be established to provide direction to the campaign and any decisions will be made by committee. 


Furthermore, the campaigns will be structured in a way that partners can opt in or opt out of certain campaigns depending on their organisational priorities. 

Links to Mayoral strategies and priorities


The Mayor’s Economic Development Strategy recognises the important role of tourism in supporting jobs and growth in a wide range of sectors from hospitality and food to our cultural and creative industries. Tourism is an important employer, providing jobs for people at every stage of their career. It also helps to make London a diverse and open city. Many of London’s entrepreneurs, investors, and international students and workers get their first taste of the city when they visit, on holiday or on business.


Working with the tourism industry, the Mayor has committed to make London’s offer even stronger for both leisure and business tourism, focusing on the visitor experience and the quality of amenities. He will also work to promote the city more widely, ensuring that more visitors have the chance to enjoy more of what London has to offer – including encouraging dispersal to areas outside of central London which offer many of the city’s ‘hidden gems’.


The Mayor has endorsed and supported L&P’s ‘London’s Tourism Vision’ to progress London’s position as a global capital for tourism. It sets out a clear new direction for London’s tourism sector, identifying where future growth will come from and the real opportunity we must harness and manage that growth for the benefit of Londoners and visitors alike.



The GLA is a strategic partner of the consortium and so will attend all Strategic Board meetings.  As such the GLA will be part of the group that agrees how decisions will be made, which audiences to focus on, which campaigns to be developed and how L&P will be held to account for the services it delivers and how funds are spent.

Financial comments

The proposed funding of £600,000 for this initiative was identified during the GLA Group’s 2019/20 budget process and placed in the Authority’s earmarked reserves. It will be drawn down and administered by way of grant funding to London & Partners (L&P), spanning two financial-years as follows:

• 2019-20 - £320,000
• 2020-21 - £280,000

It should be noted that this funding is to support L&P’s work for the Domestic Tourism Consortium and is separate from their core funding of £13.136m for 2019-20, approved by MD2449.

Investment and Performance Board

The timeline and next steps for the Domestic Tourism Consortium are detailed in the following table:



Grant Agreement Signed

May 2019

Delivery Start Date

May 2019

L&P Commence Procurement of Marketing Agency

September 2019

Campaign 1 – L&P Planning and Activation

Sept 2019 – March 2020

L&P Planning & Activation of a Minimum of 2 additional campaigns

April 2020-March 2021

Project Closure

March 2021

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