Sue Etherington, our Commercial Director shares her thoughts on the city and how it can create a lasting legacy from the Olympics:
The focus of the world has been on London and the UK for both the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the more recent London 2012 Olympic Games. This has created untold opportunities for putting London on the International events map and attracting future International association events to London and indeed the UK. At The QEIICC we have capitalised on this opportunity and have been building the foundations for a pipeline of International events to take place at the Centre in future years.
It is important that the meetings industry capitalise on the interest in London that the Olympics has generated. There are great PR opportunities; once you have been successful in hosting the world’s largest sporting event, the PR and legacy opportunities are valuable to all.
London has a great deal of appeal to Convention organisers – the language, ease of access, range of options of services, venues, shopping and the range of flights (including low cost carriers) available; In this respect it is streets ahead of other cities. It has made great strides in the areas of welcome and transport- with some improvements still to be made. Hosting the Olympics proved that London is the very best city for large events. Also the warmth of Londoners during the Olympics has boosted our credentials amongst International visitors, with them now placing London as a leading City destination. London & Partners is working more in partnership with all its event industry stakeholders and has created a more joined up approach to winning business for London. We have all been placing more focus on the value that large scale events bring to a destination, and we have been working hard, together, to bring these events to London.
We are certainly seeing more International event enquiries for 2013 and beyond, but it’s too early to say for sure as booking trends have changed.
London’s recent rise in the ICCA association destination charts was also great news for London. We have an unrivalled location in the heart of Westminster with amazing views of some of the most iconic landmarks in London, and we find that this is a huge appeal to convention organisers. The expansion of Eastside of London has increased the appeal of that area, and by the same token, central London also has increased its appeal as a foil to the Eastside.
Much has been said about past Olympic cities not capitalising on the effect the Games can offer and whilst I’m sure this is always a challenge, London is very focused and prepared. I believe London has been one of the best in delivering a vision for a sustainable legacy from the games- both socially and economically. It is important that this is allowed to grow and flourish.