Business tourism merges into Visit London initiative

Visit London's business and conventions team will restructure this month, following the departure of its head of business and conventions Mady Keup.

Key changes involve the integration of business tourism - formerly managed as an independent unit within Visit London - into the organisation as a whole, accompanied by an increase in the budget to seven figures and growth in the size of the business tourism team from seven to 11 staff.

This means that business tourism will operate within Visit London's overall marketing framework, and its business marketing messages will be included in all relevant campaigns.

Recent co-ordinated marketing initiatives include Visit London's 'one amazing week' campaign, which took place during International Confex, and was designed to promote the capital to visitors from all tourism sectors.

The changes "will give the business sector a louder voice in all Visit London key markets and campaigns, and more opportunities to get its message out", said the organisation's commercial director David Hornby.

The changes have been welcomed by Michael Hirst, head of the Business Tourism Partnership.

"This places business tourism centre stage," he said. "It is good to have the whole organisation cross-pollinating ideas. There will still be business tourism specialists within Visit London, but they will be integrated within the organisation. Their voices will be heard automatically and they will have a real influence on the way the organisation develops."

It is also a sign that Visit London is listening to advice from the Business Tourism Advisory Group, according to the group's chair Vanessa Cotton.

"We have worked hard to raise the bar," she said. "Instead of business tourism being a bolt-on, it is now seen as integral to everything that Visit London does."

The group is due to meet Visit London again on 21 May, following the second London Leadership Forum on Business Tourism, to be held on 30 March.

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