Cast your mind back to last March 23, 2020. It was our first day we were told to “stay at home”. The city emptied of office workers. Tourists retreated. Shops, hotels and attractions shut. The exodus from London’s streets was stark. Images of an empty Piccadilly Square and deserted Trafalgar Square filled newspaper pages. Now in our third lockdown, London, which accounts for nearly a quarter of the UK economy, is once again disconcertingly quiet. Hotels, attractions, restaurants and “non-essential” shops are mostly shuttered. All but essential travel is against government guidance. As we swiftly head towards the anniversary of the first nationwide closure – for now, lockdown regulations are due to expire on March 31 – how might 12 months of restrictions have left our greatest tourist city? To begin with, a dramatic drop off in international visitors. Pre-pandemic, tourism was worth £18.7 billion to the economy. Some 21 million international visitors came to London in 2019. Allen Simpson of London & Partners, the organisation responsible for promoting London as a tourist destination, says visits to the city fell by approximately 72 per cent last year.