Opinion: Sounding off - Why industry must champion London's Olympic Games bid

Hosting the Olympic Games is a fantastic opportunity to showcase a city's culture and character on a worldwide stage in a way that money can't buy. So why isn't our industry backing London's bid wholeheartedly?

Tourism is London's second biggest industry, employing more than 350,000 people and worth £15bn a year. Estimates suggest that the Olympics would bring at least £610m in tourism income - but it could be as high as £3.2bn.

In an increasingly competitive market, it's an opportunity that London cannot afford to ignore. But for our bid to succeed, it requires everyone's full and positive backing.

With its large number of three- to five-star hotel rooms, London easily meets the International Olympic Committee's accommodation requirement and far outweighs room provision in cities such as Madrid and Sydney.

London's transport infrastructure is second to none - every day it moves up to 16 times more passengers than previous host cities. London also exceeds cultural expectations, boasting 300 museums and galleries, 6,000 restaurants and cafes, 7,000 pubs and bars and world-famous theatres and historic buildings.

London's diversity is also an advantage. With more than 50 ethnic communities of 10,000 people or more, every competing country can expect an enthusiastic welcome.

Security is a key issue but, again, London has one of the best track records in the world on security handling and dealing with major international events - including providing advice to Athens, this year's host city.

Up to 80% of the general public is in favour of hosting the Games, so why can't the doubters acknowledge that winning the Olympic bid is one of the greatest prizes we could achieve.

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