Entente cordiale for London and Paris

The mayors of London and Paris have unveiled new business and tourism partnerships to attract international visitors to both cities.

The agreement will, for the first time, jointly showcase London and Paris to overseas visitors, while a new initiative called the Paris-London Business Welcome Programme will encourage trade and investment between the two cities.

The announcement comes just one day before the UK government triggers Article 50, beginning the formal process of withdrawing the UK from the European Union.

London’s mayor, Sadiq Khan, said: “London and Paris are two of the greatest cities in the world and we have so much to gain from joining forces.”

The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, added: “Paris and London share common values and willpower. We want to be attractive to companies all over the world.

“Since the election of Sadiq, our two cities have been working better together. We are developing new exchanges and new projects. All these initiatives will create employment, activity and economic growth. It is a very positive dynamic that the Brexit will not change.”

The mayor of London’s official promotion agency, London and Partners, estimates that visitors to London and Paris spend more than £30 billion per year and the tourism economy in both cities supports 1.2 million jobs.

The tourism agreement, which will launch in 2018, will focus on key drivers for international visitors to both cities, such as culture and heritage, and combine the resources of visitlondon.com and parisinfo.com.

The Paris-London Business Welcome programme will help companies to be set up and offer discounted accommodation, while Eurostar will provide entrepreneurs with preferential rates on its services.