London %26 Partners has ended its travel trade programme

London & Partners, the capital’s official promotional agency, has ended its programme for the travel trade.

In a statement posted on its LinkedIn group, London & Partners (L&P) said it was “only focused on areas where we can have the most impact”.  

Highlighting its new strategy, London & Partners’ chief executive Laura Citron, said: “The London & Partners Strategy 2018-2021, developed in consultation with strategic partners and the Mayor’s Office, is to focus our limited resources where we can uniquely make the biggest difference for London.

“As part of this, our travel trade activity this year and next will focus on working with travel agents to attract tourists from the important and growing markets of China, India and the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council).”

Members of the travel trade have voiced their frustration at the change in strategy.

Luke Reilly, head of trade sales at The View From the Shard, said: “It’s a major shame for L&P’s travel trade partners who are doing an awful lot to support inbound and domestic tourism for London.”

Tony Lincoln, European sales and marketing director at Planet Hollywood, added: “It’s frustrating to say the least; I don’t feel happy paying for a membership fee if it’s not working. Like with all trade bodies and associations, you have to put in to get out but we’ve tried to engage with L&P and don’t seem to get much back.”

Sarah Handy, senior sales and marketing manager at Hard Rock Cafe, said: “I think the change in strategy will lead to many members questioning their memberships which might make L&P realise that most of their members are travel trade anyway.

“We actually challenged L&P a while back because we felt there was a diversion away from promoting London to the domestic market; people come to London because of the attractions and we’re a huge part of the infrastructure of the city – they’re getting it so wrong with this new strategy.”