How queuing to see the queen lying in state is sparking a tourism boom in London

Outside the Palace of Westminster in the heart of London, hundreds of police officers and security guards direct millions of mourners to Westminster Hall, where the Queen rests in state.

“The Queue” To see the Queen before her funeral serpents west of Westminster Abbey, cross Lambeth Bridge and then stretch five miles east along the Thames – a two-hour walk under normal circumstances but queued up would take up to 14.

It is expected to continue during the day and night until the morning of Monday 19, when the coffin will be carried in procession from Westminster Palace to Westminster Abbey, where the state funeral will be held.

As people flock from all over the world to pay their respects to Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, there has been an unprecedented increase in the number of tourists in London. While the Queen’s procession and funerals will only last for four days, the occasion is expected to create unexpected gains in tourism that may continue for years to come.

“Positive coverage of the royal family … has long-term benefits for tourism,” says Sheila Agarwal, Professor of Tourism Management at Plymouth Business School. luck. “It’s getting a lot of interest in the monarchy, in the royal family, and anything that has to do with the monarchy over thousands of years, so there’s likely to be major side effects from this.

“For many people, this is a once-in-a-lifetime event…they have never known any king other than the Queen,” says Agarwal, who anticipates a surge in international and domestic visitors.

Tourism boom

Viña Saron traveled from Sao Paulo, Brazil to pay respects to the Queen, arrived Thursday morning and headed straight from the airport to the queue. She says, “I’m so tired.” luck. “He will be worth it. It is not only a mission for England. It is a mission for the whole world.”

Many who have traveled to London have done so to participate in what they consider a historic event. Throughout her 70-year reign, the Queen occupied a unique place in the lives of many people.

“I mean she was given 70 years to rule her. We can give it to her one day,” says Linda, who traveled to the funeral from Leeds with her son.
Sophie Mellor – Fortune

More tourists in London means more people booking long-term accommodations, eating in restaurants, traveling on the underground, and flocking to bars.

The Sea Containers, a five-star hotel located behind the Southbank skate park, has seen a marked uptick in bookings.

On Thursday, the hotel filled 94% of its 359 rooms, and is expected to remain at that occupancy level through Monday. The front desk worker at the hotel said luck that before the Queen’s death, occupancy was hovering around 80%.

“We have definitely seen a drop in availability,” said Ann, the front desk clerk. luckadding, “I’ve had calls with people asking if they had a view of the funeral.”

Since the Queen’s death was announced, the average price for a night in a London hotel has risen from $244 to $384, said Hayley Berg, chief economist at travel startup Huber. Reuters.

Their websites showed that upscale hotels across London such as Claridge, Connaught, Dorchester and Berkeley are booked until Sunday night.

Bars and restaurants are also likely to see windfall gains from the increase in foot traffic. A resident who lives south of the river has even gone so far as to create a “map of all the decent pubs on the way (or very close to)” so mourners can grab a pint on the way to see the Queen.

travel problem

For Londoners and tourists alike, transfers have been delayed and canceled. Network Rail, Rail Delivery Group and Transport for London warned all travelers to expect busy services and crowded stations over the next few days – and advised passengers to consider walking to their destinations if possible.

Meanwhile, flights to London have seen a significant increase in interest and prices. Within an hour of the Queen’s death being announced, searches for flights to London from the US were up 49% compared to the day before, according to travel booking site Huber. The average round-trip airfare from the United States to London increased from about $710 to more than $1,000 between September 15 and September 17, Huber reports.

In addition to higher prices, tourists who book last-minute flights to London will also face disruptions at London airports. Heathrow and London City Airports announced they were cutting services and canceling hundreds of flights on Monday to ensure two minutes of silence were not disrupted during the funeral.

A country in dire need of tourism

The influx of tourism is welcome at a difficult economic time for Britain. Restaurants, bars and museums that have just returned to post-pandemic activity are facing their worst cost-of-living and energy crisis in decades.

“Many hotels and hospitality events have been severely affected by the coronavirus, and they currently have to contend with declining disposal income due to the cost of living crisis and rising costs,” says Agarwal. luck.

“This is a good opportunity to make up for, offset and stabilize their business,” she adds, adding that she expects a second hike from next year’s coronation of King Charles.

It is unclear whether King Charles will be able to maintain the Queen’s popularity, and anti-royal pressure has been growing since the Queen’s death.

But such skepticism is largely absent from the waiting list, as people express hope that for the foreseeable future the monarchy will prevail as a representative of British unity and culture.

Waiting to pay his respects to the Queen, local TV personality Liam “Gatsby” Blackwell, from the scripted reality show The only way is EssexHe expressed his love for the royal family and his happiness with the new king.

“My cousin is here from Korea, but he lives in Los Angeles, I took him here because I wanted to show him English culture,” said Blackwell. luck.

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