Mayor sets aside £7m in capital tourism plan

The Mayor of London has identified business tourism as key to the capital’s development in his three-year tourism plan. Visit London was outlined at the end of last month and includes extra public funding with £7m being spent up to 2004 via the London Development Agency – most on marketing. The building of an international convention centre is also a priority, along with more affordable hotel accommodation in outer London. Ken Livingstone said: “For too long the industry has suffered from a lack of strategic direction. This is my way of saying tourism is important to London and that I am making every effort to lead and support this crucial industry.” The London Convention Bureau is working with the Mayor to implement the plan. “We want to get things moving as soon as possible,” said spokeswoman Catherine Grice. “The funding will be spread over the next two years and we are looking to launch the first marketing drive before Christmas. We’re pleased business tourism was recognised as a priority.” London Development Agency spokeswoman Jane Ball said a feasibility study for the convention centre is underway. Business Tourism Partnership chairman Michael Hirst said the extra funding would be a massive boost for business tourism and he hopes to “bring in C&I suppliers to the talks on the international convention centre”. He added: “The Mayor was very receptive to the idea of civic hospitality and stated the City Hall would be open to host delegations, once the city started to pull in massive conventions in the new centre.” A new company, set to be operational in April 2003, will also be set up to market London and act as a representative body for the tourism industry. See London Debate, p29

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