Tuesday, 9 October 2012

London Imports Celebrities as Tourism Wanes

Tourism has always been central to the capital’s economy. Tourists flock here from all over the world to gawp at our many attractions, including the history-steeped Tower of London, the forcefully borrowed international treasures stored at the Museum of London, the consumer and bus fancier’s Mecca that is Oxford Street, and the not-to-be-missed waxy joys that can be found in Madam Tussauds where the latest exciting installation is Francois Hollande – a thrilling treat for all the family. But, incredibly, it appears that even a wax model of the charismatic French premier has not been enough of a draw to boost London’s tourist trade which has flagged dramatically this summer. Sited causes for the dip in visitors to London’s top attractions (London Zoo and Kew Gardens being among the worst hit) have been the bad weather and the lure of the Olympics. The concerning attendance figures came from the well known and universally loved Association of Leading Visitor Attractions (Alva). Alva’s data suggests that some of the capital’s attractions played host to 60 per cent fewer visitors than last year – a figure that Bernard Donoghue, Alva’s chief executive was almost inconsolably hysterical about this week, describing the report as “sobering reading.” Calm down Bernie, you’ll give yourself a stroke.

Top London attraction and runner up of the International Convenience Retailer of the Year Award, Spar in Walthamstow Village has been eerily devoid of tourists recently

It is all very well worrying yourself sick about the situation like Bernard Donoghue, but if no one actually does anything the only sources of income left to London will be the production of gin and the privatisation of the royal family. But it seems that help is at hand: as it becomes clear that Londoners and the traditional tourism sites are clearly not attracting visitors, a new initiative has been launched to import interesting celebrities from other parts of the world in the hope that they will bring in much needed tourists.

This week self-obsessed derivative ‘rebel’ Lady Gaga was flown in to take part in a high profile marketing event for her new perfume at over-priced Egyptian twat magnet Harrods. The stunt did not go quite as planned, however, due to organisers underestimating what a unconscionable prick Lady Gaga (real name Sadie Gaga) actually is. Fans who had waited hours to see the star for some reason were left devastated when she haughtily breezed past them without so much as an impromptu concert. One teenage fan, Luke Reader, was left gutted by the snub. “It’s quite ironic it’s called Fame because it just shows how much fame has changed her,” he said struggling to grasp the concept of irony.

Gaga tells her fans that she needs her own space to grow as a person and an artist

All is not lost though, as Bromley has paid a small fortune to import cuddly Northern motorcyclists, The Big Fat Hairy Cookers for the evening in an attempt to attract both tourists interested in motorcycling and those interested in old-fashioned stodgy British cookery. The evening promises to be an absolute riot as the bewhiskered gastronomes “rattle through countless stories from their trips across the globe, including decadent dinners and culinary catastrophes.” Smashing.

Even Croydon is doing its bit in the drive to pull in tourists. The horrendous concrete urban nightmare has played host to none other than someone who used to be in the popular special needs documentary The Only Way is Essex. Maria Fowler, who was apparently on the programme for a period of time, attended a hairstylist’s in the area, and attempted to drum up visitors by Twatting about it on Twitter. "My hair is bright copper. Woo @amaisalon amazing haha!" she Twatted incomprehensibly during her visit. The event was reportedly a success, as two teenagers from Kent glanced in at the window as they were passing, and a man from Surrey bought a Mars Bar in the newsagent next door, bolstering the local economy.

And if the tourist trade continues to suffer despite these efforts, Perivale has a little something up its sleeve that is certain to bring in the foreign wonga.   

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