Joint report outlines vision of London business tourism

A joint report by Visit London and the London Development Agency (LDA) has outlined a unified ‘London Means Business’ vision for the future of business tourism in the city. The proposal, which came as a result of discussions at the second London Leadership Forum at the end of March, includes a five-point development strategy. This comprises a central accommodation service; visitor welcoming teams at major transport hubs; shared industry intelligence; a subvention policy to attract aid and subsidies; and a ‘civic pride’ campaign targeting workers such as shopkeepers and taxi drivers. Chair of the Business Tourism Advisory Group Vanessa Cotton was adamant the vision and strategy amounted to more than just a wish list. "These are all areas where we fully expect to make tangible progress during the next year, and we’re now empowered to make genuine movement." The report also detailed progress on five similar core issues that had been highlighted the previous year, including the need for a new international convention centre. Chairman of the Mayoral Commission to examine the feasibility of such a centre, Gerry Acher, said the past year had helped to clarify the situation. "We’ve met with a lot of different queries but it’s clear that a convention centre in London would not be bad news for the rest of the country. Pre- and post-conferencing options mean it would be of great benefit," he said. "My biggest worry is what would happen without a centre – in the 1970s we were number one in the world for conferences; we’re now number 16. Where will we be in five or ten years’ time?" Meanwhile, it has been announced that up to 19,000 hotel rooms will be added to London’s existing bedstock by 2008 – 8,000 of which are dependent on a successful Olympic bid.

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