London restaurants bounce back with spending almost at pre-Covid level


pending in London restaurants is almost back to pre-pandemic levels at weekends as the capital’s visitor economy shows signs of a strong recovery.

Mayor Sadiq Khan said takings had risen to 90 per cent of normal while visitor numbers had reached 86 per cent of normal levels by mid-August.

However weekday visitor numbers lagged behind at 62 per cent, though Tube numbers this week of more than two million journeys a day showed the post-holiday return to work was in full flow.

He said a £7m Let’s Do London campaign to encourage Londoners back to the city’s cultural venues and attract domestic tourists to take a “staycation” in the capital had “proved to be successful”.

Mr Khan said: “Now that restrictions have ended, our most urgent task is to restore confidence in the city and to encourage visitors and Londoners safely back to our world-leading hospitality, culture, leisure and retail sectors.”

A report from the rail industry on Friday highlighted the importance of train commuters to rebuilding London’s economy.

Pre-pandemic, £54bn a year was spent by train passengers to London, including £18bn on food and drink (£18bn), £12bn on shopping and £5bn on culture and entertainment, according to the Rail Delivery Group.

It said rail commuting from the Home Counties was only at 25 per cent of normal, though separate figures this week from Govia Thameslink, the capital’s biggest operator, said its passenger numbers were above 50 per cent.

The report warned of the danger to the economy of commuters getting back in their cars. Traffic is already at pre-pandemic levels and it estimated that a rise in congestion costing the economy up to £1.5bn in delays would result from 20 per cent of rail commuters choosing to drive.

Andy Bagnall, director general of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “The extent to which people return to the workplace and whether or not they take the train to get there is going to be crucial.

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