Over 90 London-based hospitality business leaders have warned that unless there is a coordinated campaign to encourage tourists and office workers back to the capital, the sector is at risk of collapse.

In a letter to the Prime Minister and the Mayor of London, operators alongside UK Hospitality have called on leaders to deliver a coordinated campaign to support businesses reliant on the return of tourists and office workers to the city, and help save thousands of jobs.

“Pre-Covid, more than 40 million overseas visitors spent close to £30bn in Britain last year, with 55% of those visitors coming to London, the world’s third most visited city. Visit Britain’s latest forecast for inbound tourism to the UK in 2020 is for a decline of 73% in visits to 11.0 million and a decline of 79% in spending from nearly £30bn to £6bn. With 55% of inbound expenditure accruing in London, there would be a drop in revenue for London of at least £12bn in international tourism,” the letter said.

“This does not take into account the further lost revenues for aviation and ferry operators and terminals. A programme of promotions, initiatives and campaigns is desperately needed to convey to potential visitors that London is open for business, safe and welcoming.”

“London needs its workers and tourism to survive,” added UK Hospitality CEO Kate Nicholls. “Unless action is taken to get people back into the city, hospitality and tourism businesses, retail, leisure and supply chain businesses, which combine to provide 20% of all employment in London, will be ruined.

“This goes beyond politics. There must be a joined-up plan from both the Government in Westminster and the Mayor’s Office to get London back up and running again. Otherwise, we will see widespread job losses and the destruction of years of progress in establishing London as one of the world’s leading cities for commerce and tourism.”

A government-backed ad campaign is expected to launch this week to encourage workers to return to the office.