London leaders say the capital is back open for vital foreign tourism as the first passengers from the US and EU flew in on Monday morning without having to quarantine.

Civic chiefs offered a warm welcome to the arrivals, who they hope will boost the city’s tourist economy. It has been hammered by three lockdowns and restrictions on foreign visitors.

London minister Paul Scully told the Standard: “As a global city, London has so much to offer for international travellers; the best shopping, theatre, cuisine and historical landmarks. That’s why we should all back our #LetsDoLondon campaign to remind our international friends how much we’re missing them and the fantastic welcome Londoners are here to give.”

There were scenes of joy at Heathrow on Monday as families kept apart by the pandemic, some for nearly two years, were finally reunited. At Terminal 5, dozens of families were waiting to see their relatives, who live in the US, as restrictions in both countries have made travel between them almost impossible before today.

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