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Many tourists visiting London remain unaware of the lower fares available on the Oyster card, meaning some are still paying more than they need to when travelling around the capital, the London Assembly heard today (20 May).
In a meeting to discuss the London Development Agency’s (LDA) draft Tourism Action Plan, Members of the Assembly’s Economic Development, Culture, Sport and Tourism (EDCST) Committee were told that not enough was being done to promote the cost benefits of the Oyster card for both overseas visitors and those from other parts of the UK.
Committee Members also heard that high prices on the Heathrow Express were affecting first impressions of the capital.
Simon Calder, Travel Editor for the Independent told the Committee: "When you arrive in London you have the choice, if you land at Heathrow, of having to unravel the difficult system of getting an Oyster card or buying a ticket on the most expensive domestic train anywhere in the world: the Heathrow Express. Those are very difficult first impressions to overcome."
Encouraging London’s 20 million transit passengers to spend time in the capital rather than simply changing planes could also boost tourism in London. Measures could include free tours and overnight accommodation for transit passengers, similar to initiatives currently used in Dubai and Singapore, the Committee heard.
Dee Doocey AM, Chair of the EDCST Committee said: “It seems we’re missing a few tricks here when it comes to getting transport right for tourists. The draft Tourism Action Plan needs to include simple measures to address some of the problems we’ve heard today. It could dramatically improve the visitor experience and boost the tourism industry, which is crucial to London’s economic success.”
Today’s meeting will inform the Committee’s response to the LDA’s consultation on the draft Tourism Action Plan.