London City Guide
Population & Landmark…
It was the Romans who really started the city, by establishing “Londinium” as an important fortress town. Over the centuries, London has developed and expanded despite the tragedy happening, such as the bitter English War or the WWII. Nowadays, the city is vast, vibrant and truly multicultural.
The official London population, including the London administrative area of thirty-two London boroughs and the City of London is 7,517,400. London is one of the largest cities in the developed world in terms of its built-up area, and is the most populous city in the European Union.
London is a major global city and one of the world’s leading business, financial, political and cultural centre for the global economy. The city is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and its popularity has increased over the years. London is a strategic centre for international business and commerce, one of the three decision centre worldwide along with New York and Tokyo.
The city is one of the largest financial centres and the 6th largest city economy in the world. London is home to banks, brokers, insurers, legal and accounting firms. Along with professional services, media companies are concentrated in London and the media distribution industry is London’s second most competitive sector.
London moved to a mostly service-based economy earlier than other European cities, particularly after the Second World War. The main factors that made the success of London as a service industry and business centre are mostly its close relationship with the US and various countries in Asia as well as the business friendly environment of the city. As an example, the local government is not elected by the resident population but instead by business in the city of London. This is a business democracy.
London has five major business districts: The City, Westminster, Canary Wharf, Camden & Islington and Lambeth & Southwark. London’s largest industry remains finance. The City is home to banks, brokers… The second smaller financial district is Canary Wharf to the east with global headquarters of HSBC or Citygroup.
London handled in 2005 31% of global currency transactions, with more US Dollars traded in London than in New York, and more Euros traded than in every city in Europe combined.
Office Rental Levels…
The first half of 2008 has seen falling values, tighter lending restrictions and company downsizing.
As per the Costar Group report of the first quarter of 2008, a 50% fall in take-up has been recorded in Central London. Traditionally, approximately 40% of office space take-up has come from banks but in the first three months of this year, it has dropped to below 10%.
However, there is still sufficient activity in the occupier markets for London to retain its status as the premier global office location. Over 12 million square feet of building projects are underway in Central London and with the majority scheduled for completion in the next 12 to 18 months; attention will focus on the widening supply/demand gap.
With the current economic climate, it seems everything is up in price, except serviced offices. Indeed, all the utility companies such as fuel or gas have increased their prices by approximately 35%, which means that the operating costs for the business operators are also increasing. However, while the providers’ costs are increasing, businesses with 12 months contract or more in a serviced office building will be shielded from these increases.
The capital is well serviced in terms of links with its various flight centres, buses, trains, tubes, taxis and private transfer companies.
The centrepiece of the public transport network is the London Underground, commonly referred to as The Tube, which has eleven interconnecting lines. It is the oldest, longest, and most expansive metro system in the world. London's bus network is one of the biggest in the world, running 24 hours, with 8,000 buses, 700 bus routes, and over 6 million passenger journeys made every weekday.
London is a major international air transport hub. No fewer than eight airports use the words London Airport in their name, but most traffic passes through one of five major airports. London Heathrow Airport is the busiest airport in the world for international traffic, and is the major hub of the nation's flag carrier, British Airways.
Similar traffic, with the addition of some low-cost short-haul flights, is also handled at London Gatwick Airport. London Stansted Airport and London Luton Airport cater mostly for low-cost short-haul flights. London City Airport, the smallest and most central airport, is focused on business travellers, with a mixture of full service short-haul scheduled flights and considerable business jet traffic.
The Tourism, Attractiveness of the city…
Tourism is one of London’s prime industries. London is a popular destination and attracts more than 27 million visitors each year. The city is very multiculturalism and is a key reason why people love the city. Tourists come for London’s history or London’s royal pageantry but they return for all the charms of the modern city.
Within the City of Westminster, the entertainment district of the West End has its focus around Leicester Square, where London and world film premieres are held, and Piccadilly Circus, with its giant electronic advertisements. London's theatre district is here, as are many cinemas, bars, clubs and restaurants, including the city's Chinatown district, and just to the east is Covent Garden, an area housing speciality shops.
Europe's busiest shopping area is Oxford Street, a shopping street nearly one mile long, which makes it the longest shopping street in the world and home to many shops and department stores including Selfridges.
The adjoining Bond Street in Mayfair is an extremely upmarket location, home to fashion, jewellery, and accessories design houses. Knightsbridge is home to the Harrods department store lies just to the southwest. Together with these, the fashionable shopping areas of Sloane Street and Kings Road represent London's prestigious role in the world of fashion.
London Guide: www.cityguide.travel-guides.com
Citizen’s Advise Bureau: www.london.gov.uk
Chamber of commerce: www.londonchamberofcommerce.co.uk