London Mayor Sadiq Khan is confident the British capital continues to command pre-eminence as a global metropolis despite the setback of a controversial vote to leave the European Union in a June referendum.
That pre-eminence, Khan indicated in an address at the launch of an Autumn festival, will be sustained with greater emphasis on London’s allure as a tourism destination cherished by people of all cultures and creeds.
The mayor also set off Twitter campaign #LondonIsOpen, which is meant to promote aspects of the city’s openness and variety.
Khan came to the opening night at the Science Museum, Kensington, armed with the findings of new research showing London’s leading museums and galleries benefited from an 11 per cent increase in foreign visits since 2012, the year of the Olympics. More recently, since the Brexit vote in June, the pound’s weakening against the euro and the dollar has proved a major incentive for foreign tourists.
Museums, galleries and major art exhibitions account for three fifths of all visits to London. The Autumn season of cultural exhibitions and events, supported by the British government’s GREAT campaign, aims to counter effects of Brexit on international perceptions of Britain.
“Our city’s world-class museums, galleries and exhibitions have firmly positioned London as one of the most welcoming and culturally rich cities to visit,” Sadiq Khan said. “Not only does our unique cultural scene make a substantial and vital contribution to our city’s economic prosperity, but I’m delighted to see that London’s creative sector plays such an important role in entertaining tourists from home and across the world.
“The many millions of visitors who come here time and time again are sending out a clear signal that London is truly open to everyone, and this is the message we will continue to send around the world.”
The artist Sir Quentin Blake produced an illustration (pictured above) to capture the #LondonIsOpen campaign. In the projected drawing, Blake depicted what he described as a Goddess of Openness. The artist has said, “Every morning I go to my London balcony and breathe in thousands of words and pictures, and then I start work.”
Working with London poet and musician LA Salami, London & Partners promotion agency has also produced a short film that aims to capture the spirit of the 2016 Autumn Season programme of events. ©Sajid Rizvi.
More information: www.londonisopen.com