The coronation of King Charles III is expected to bring close to 3 million visitors to London this May, bringing billions of pounds of cash to help the city’s tourist economy recover from the pandemic.
Last year, the U.K. brought in almost 30 million tourists, still nearly a third below the 2019 numbers. Tourism is far from London’s only industry, but it’s a large enough one that a drop like that still hits hard. Officials are hoping that the coronation, the first in 70 years, will help fix the issue. A silver lining to a national loss.
“Events like this really kick-start the recovery, don’t they? And they put Britain on the world stage again,” said Patricia Yates, chief executive of the VisitBritain tourism board. She said that history, heritage, and the Royal family are the largest tourist draws for international tourists, and the coronation will feature all three.
Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations last year brought in an extra 2.6 million visitors to London, she said, and Charles’ coronation on May 6th is expected to have a similar effect. It will be a four-day celebration, with pubs given license to remain open late and many venues putting together special packages for those willing to spend.
A double-decker bus, for instance, is providing coronation-themed tourists that treat passengers to tea based on King Charles’s favorites as they visit Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, and other noteworthy places.
For a mere $16,000, more extravagant guests can have an overnight stay in the Royal Suite at the Hotel Cafe Royal and a limo ride to the Tower of London for a private viewing of the Crown Jewels.
But the extravagance doesn’t sit well with many locals – the additional tax revenue of all that tourism won’t repay the 100 million pounds the event is expected to cost, or the cost of an additional holiday added to the calendar.