London’s West End needs help getting visitor footfall nearer to normal levels
◆ Visitors have been slow to return to the key parts of the West End even as lockdown restrictions ease – sparking fears of the demise of the cultural heartland, writes Rachel Millard.
There has been a 10pc increase in visitor numbers to the area covering Leicester Square, Piccadilly and St James’s since Aug 1 when workers were encouraged back to the office. But with theatres still closed and many workers not yet returning, footfall remains 65pc down on last year.
The Heart of London Business Alliance, which represents 500 major businesses and 100 property owners in the area, including Her Majesty’s Theatre, Fortnum & Mason, the Ritz hotel and the National Gallery, says the Government needs to do far more to encourage people back out.
Chief executive Ros Morgan said: “It is only with this increase in numbers that it will be viable for shops, cafés and cultural institutions to reopen.
“Spending time in London involves a rich variety of experiences with many people who work in central London then spending the evening unwinding in the West End.”