London hotels are cutting back on overtime for employees and not replacing people who leave because of the downturn in travel, particularly from the United States, British tourist officials say, adding that for the visitor things are less crowded at restaurants and tourist attractions and at theaters, where tickets are now easier to get.

"The Persian Gulf war is certainly having a big effect," said a London Tourist Board spokeswoman."The number of American visitors is down about 50 percent."

British Airways said that its first-class and business-class traffic was down by 20 percent last month compared with January 1990.

The Savoy group of luxury hotels, which includes the Savoy, Claridge's, the Berkeley and the Connaught, reports that reservations for January and February are 15 percent down compared with the corresponding period last year.

Tickets to the hit show "Miss Saigon," dinner at Le Gavroche in Mayfair (recently awarded three Michelin stars) and a night at the Dorchester Hotel can all be had without reservations, another tourist official said.

A spokeswoman for the Society of West End Theaters said that tickets for virtually all shows except "The Phantom of the Opera" on weekends are available for most performances.

The Keith Prowse and Edwards & Edwards ticket agencies reported a spate of cancellations from their New York offices and other overseas outlets.