UK – Jubilee tourists expected to provide boost for UK economy
The Diamond Jubilee is expected to inject £10 billion into the British economy, as hundreds of thousands of visitors flock to London’s hotels, restaurants, bars and shops. Here’s a look at the impact of the bank holiday celebrations on the UK tourist trade and economy.
Hotels in London and beyond have seen bookings soar for the weekend of June 2-5. The Savoy hotel, located on the banks of the Thames, is expecting a very busy weekend during the Jubilee celebrations, particularly on Sunday when the Royal flotilla will sail down the river. The hotel is offering a special Royal package during the weekend, including two nights’ accommodation and a four-course Diamond Jubilee dinner for two with sommelier-selected wines (from £1,230). At the nearby Landmark Hotel, bookings are currently at 50 per cent for the Jubilee weekend, with a late surge expected over the next fortnight. Sally Beck, director of marketing at the Landmark, explained: “We’re expecting a spike in the coming weeks, with bookings rising to 70 or 75 per cent capacity. This is similar to what happened last year around the Royal wedding – there is often a last-minute rush for rooms.” The hotel is offering special Diamond Jubilee rates, as well as a guest package including champagne on arrival and a three-course meal with Kir Royale cocktail (from £342). London’s iconic Goring Hotel, where the Middleton family stayed during last year’s Royal wedding, never discloses how busy it is during bank holiday weekends. However, guests at the luxurious city-centre hotel can enjoy a glittering cocktail designed in honour of the Queen.
However, tourists hoping to indulge in some of the capital’s accommodation packages in early June should be aware of predicted price rises around the Jubilee weekend. According to a study by Santander bank, the cost of a four-night stay for a family of four during the Jubilee period is roughly 54% more expensive than an identical stay in May. The report also found that some hotels have increased their charges by up to 223%. Visitors booking luxury accommodation face the most substantial rises – an average of 81% more than an equivalent weekend in May.
London’s top restaurants and establisments serving traditional British cuisine are likely to be extremely busy during the Jubilee weekend as well, so visitors are advised to book early. At the two Michelin-starred The Ledbury in Notting Hill, the restaurant is already fully booked for lunch and dinner throughout June. Other high-priced restaurants, such as The Ivy in London’s West End, and Heston Blumenthal’s renowned The Fat Duck in Bray, Berkshire, are expecting to be busier than usual during the celebrations.
Tourists flocking to London are also looking forward to sampling the many traditional afternoon tea menus on offer. Hotels including the Dorchester, the Park Lane Hotel and the Andaz Hotel in Liverpool Street are all offering themed Diamond Jubilee tea packages, offering treats such as Victoria sponge, coronation chicken sandwiches and gin and tonic jellies. Henry Brosi, executive chef at The Dorchester, said: “We only have four tables left on Saturday, June 2. Tea is so popular at The Dorchester that we have already increased from two sittings to five, and we now offer ‘low tea’ at 2.15pm as well as ‘high tea’ at 5.15pm. For the Diamond Jubilee we will be serving diamond sugar and the front of the hotel will be decorated by the Florist at The Dorchester with the Queen’s favourite flowers in an array of red, white and blue.”
In the matter of shopping, Harrods department store and Hamleys toy shop are just two of the iconic London shops that will be top of tourists’ to-do lists during the bank holiday weekend. Other classic British shops are already preparing for the influx of tens of thousands of visitors. A spokesperson for Fortnum and Mason said the luxury store was expecting a lot of custom at the start of June. “We have made sure all our language speakers among the staff will be in over the weekend and have had many requests from international press teams, including Danish, Taiwanese, Polish and French media, who want to come and film and ask about the Royal Warrants,” she explained. “We have special menus and products in store, and the windows have been decorated with our Jubilee logo since the beginning of the year – they will remain until Christmas, which is very unusual.”