The Rio 2016 Olympics are due to kick off in just a few days, four years on, what impact do you think the 2012 Games had on the capital?
I think the biggest impact of the Olympics has been the regeneration story. We’ve seen some fantastic new venues opening, including HereEast and the Copper Box, which are still being hired out for corporate events. The Games fast tracked the regeneration of London, with investment to the whole of the east including the Olympic Park and ExCeL.
Around £6.4bn was spent on transport in the lead up to the events, which also added to the city’s incredible boost. We’ve seen 18,000 new hotel rooms opened and that growth has only boomed since, with a further 16,000 in the pipeline by 2018. What the games did was to show everyone around the world that we were creative and that Britain could successfully host events of this scale.
Has London witnessed a rise in the number of events as a result of the Olympics?
In terms of attracting major events to the city, the Olympics gave us the chance to come together, creating cross-London working groups. Since then it’s become much easier to pull the city together for big events and we’re attracting more as a result. One example is the European Society of Cardiology, which attracted more than 30,000 delegates to London and sporting events such as the European Hockey Championships.
We built numerous great sporting facilities before the Olympics, including the aquatic centre, the white water rafting centre and the velodrome. In addition to attracting big events, it means corporate companies can use these venues for teambuilding and incentive activities.
In the run up to the games we saw more sport-themed events. Since then there hasn't been a rise in sport-themed events as such, but it has opened up options for people to use these great sporting venues.
How has the games changed London venues?
The games gave us the chance to be more creative as a city and I think that’s become a lasting legacy. It introduced the ‘pop-up’ scene to the capital in a big way and we’re still seeing that creativity and innovation increase every year, with new bars, restaurants and activities on offer. More traditional venues realised they had to break away away from their normal routine and offer something different.
It’s definitely put east London on the map as a creative region for international events. This year we’ll be celebrating the Rio Games with a screening at the Team GB FanZone at BeachEast. There’ll also be a smaller version at The Scoop at London Bridge.
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