A thriving cultural economy can often improve the socio-economic status of a city and contribute positively to local community life.
An improved packaging and marketing of The Thames Gap which consists of the Hampton Court Palace, the Richmond Park, the Kew Gardens and the view from Richmond Hill will result in higher revenues in the form of higher visitor arrivals for this cultural venue. Hence, the management of The Thames Gap must derive useful inputs from the SWOT Analysis which is tackled in this paper. A better and improved marketing strategy will redound to higher revenues and ultimately, the greater well-being of the residents of the City of London.
Various tourism studies have highlighted the importance of cultural tourism and its contribution to the socio-economic development of the City of London. Von Eckardt (1980:140) has emphasised that culture is something that rises up from below. This development is a result of the new cultural planning which leads to community development. Fox-Przeworski et al. (1991:250) suggest that there is no single set of measures that can bring about successful urban economic regeneration for all cities. Hence, a cultural planning approach aims to combine cultural planning with other urban policies covering the. economic, environmental, social, political, educational, symbolic parts to ensure a more integrated development (Bianchini, 1993). Evans (2001) provides a complete analysis of the development of arts and cultural planning within the context of urban renaissance.
Von Eckhardt (1980:142) again emphasised the integral nature of cultural planning by emphasizing that the art of architecture, the art of urban design, the art of winning community support, the art of transportation planning, and the art of mastering the dynamics of economic development.
In addition, Harvey (1989) argued that cultural tourism is inextricably linked in the context of urban development. planning has a significant economic dimension, as stated by Von Eckhardt (1980): Good cultural planning is quite similar to good economic planning. Smith (1996:57) suggests that 'the so-called "urban renaissance" has been stimulated more by economic than cultural forces'.
In the past, heavy focus been placed on the economic imperative in regeneration strategies. Fox-Przeworski et al. (1991:237) claim that the basic basis for successful local economic regeneration is an honest evaluation of the challenges and opportunities facing the local economy. Social, cultural and welfare issues which are crucial to the welfare of local communities has not been neglected by key officials.
Cultural tourism requires global competitiveness. For instance, specific measures to enhance the competitiveness of the local economy should consider the entire economic, social and environmental structure. The local population is the priority where jobs are to be created or housing improved. Bianchini (1993:212) also stressed the importance of local community interests in urban regeneration initiatives in Western Europe as a clear goal to revitalise the cultural, social and political life of local residents which should always precede and sustain the formulation of physical and economic