London 2012 Olympic legacy for business events needs ministerial support

Business Visits and Events Partnership chairman Michael Hirst has urged ministers to "underline" the role of the sector in developing the legacy of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Olympics legacy needs ministerial support
Olympics legacy needs ministerial support

BVEP has now arranged a meeting with UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) chief executive Nick Baird next month, through minister for trade and industry Lord Green, to discuss how to ensure the potential of the sector is realised.

"The Games have clearly demonstrated both the economic and social impacts of major events at a national and local level and their power in selling our national tourism product," explained Hirst.

But following latest tourism strategy plans from culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, Hirst said it was unclear how much business events – including conferences and meetings would benefit."

In a keynote speech on 14 August, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt announced a new £10m strategy to focus on tourism post-2012.

Key elements include investing £8m to expand the Great campaign from 2013 to focus on China, and a £2m injection into domestic tourism marketing, matched by the industry, to build on Visit England’s ‘Holiday at Home’ campaign.

Hirst added: "Ministers with tourism and business interests need to underline the role this particular sector has played and will continue to play in showing off Britain as a successful destination to hold international meetings, conferences and trade fairs and prestigious cultural events and festivals."

"Clearly the Great campaign is designed to focus primarily on Britain’s trade potential and events are included in this programme," said Hirst. "However the extra marketing funds going to Visit Britain are unlikely to be allocated to promote business visits as Visit Britain regrettably no longer has a remit for this lucrative tourism sector."

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