Boris Johnson “is confident” coalition ministers recognise the need for body to oversee the promotion of London as a tourist destination according to a City Hall spokesperson.
The spokesman was responding to media claims that Visit London, the capital’s tourism agency, faced funding uncertainties after the Government’s decision to scrap funding for the London Development Agency which provides around £12m a year to Visit London.
Visit London CEO Sally Chatterjee is reported to have warned the body “may cease to exist in its current form” unless alternative funding is secured.
Reports of Chatterjee’s letter prompted Labour Mayoral candidate Ken Livingstone to accuse his successor of committing an “oversight [which] could cost London millions in lost tourism revenue and threaten jobs at a time of great economic uncertainty and government cuts.”
Livingstone said it was “simply unforgivable that London faces the prospect of not having a tourism organisation in the year before the world’s biggest sporting event comes to the capital in 2012.”
However a Greater London Authority spokesperson said the Mayor “is in active discussions with the government and is confident it recognises the need for a single agency for the overall promotion of the capital, including tourism and investment.”
The spokesperson added: “London is a world-class destination, which generates over £16bn annually from tourism, employing 300,000 and creates the lion’s share of new investment in the sector.
“We have key priorities to deliver, especially in the run up to the 2012 Games, and we are determined to deliver them for the economic and cultural benefit of the nation which is why the Mayor has been in intense negotiations with government throughout the CSR period.”