Fiona Twycross, the London Assembly Member who lives in Croydon, has today joined the European Union referendum debate by claiming that Brexit would create a “devastating loss to London’s tourist economy”.
London has been named as the world’s most popular tourist destination in five of the last seven years, including 2015. But Twycross said today that a vote to leave the EU would send the message that the UK was “pulling up the drawbridge” and signalling the capital is “closed for business”.
“For years London has been the world’s prime tourist destination precisely because we are renowned for our openness and welcoming of visitors,” Twycross said.
“Leaving the EU would effectively signal that we are pulling up the drawbridge and that London is closed for business.
“Not only would this diminish our great city, it would discourage the tourists who contribute so much to our economy. For London’s tourism sector, Brexit could mean a devastating loss of billions of pounds and put at risk thousands of jobs.”
According to the capital’s promotion agency London and Partners, in 2014 the capital’s tourism industry saw 17.4 million visitors, contributing £11.8 billion to our economy.
Two-thirds of all these visitors originated in Europe.
“Cutting ourselves off from Europe is not in the interests of the tourism industry,” said Matt Hill, the tourism director of the non-party business group, London First.
“Any new barriers which add complexity and expense to holidaying or doing business in London will put at risk investment in the capital’s attractions, flagship stores and hospitality venues. Our rivals in Paris or Rome could reap the benefits at our expense.”
Twycross was this week named as Labour’s economic spokesperson at City Hall, with London Mayor Sadiq Khan announcing that Val Shawcross, the former leader of Croydon Council, is to be his deputy mayor for transport. Shawcross stood down after 16 years as the AM for Lambeth and Southwark at the London elections earlier this month.
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