Olympic fever will generate C&I business across the UK

The London Olympics could generate more than £2bn for the UK visitor economy over a seven to ten year period if Australia’s experience of the Sydney Games is anything to go by. Although figures specifically related to business tourism are not available, Visit Britain head of business tourism Jeremy Brinkworth said: "It’s hard to quantify, but looking at former Olympic host countries there are clearly identifiable peaks in business tourism." Brinkworth predicted an influx of sporting-related conferences taking place across the UK in the run up to 2012. "It’s not just London that will benefit," he said. "There are numerous centres of sporting excellence across the UK, such as Cardiff, home to the Millennium Stadium, and Manchester, which has already proved its sporting prowess as host to the Commonwealth Games." During the Games, the sailing events will take place at the marina in Weymouth in Dorset, which has just completed the first phase of an £8m sailing academy. However, the prime beneficiary will be the the run-down Lower Lea Valley around London’s East End, where a 500-acre plot is set to be transformed into the official Olympic Park. Visit London commercial director David Hornby said: "The impact on the C&I sector will be almost immediate. Being a future Olympic city will prove to be a real selling point when it comes to attracting group business." Hornby hinted that the capital is on track to win one of the world’s major congresses for 2009 that could see more than 15,000 delegates descend on London. Meanwhile, following the win, Skal International, the Association of Travel and Tourism Professionals, has pledged to launch a bid in 2007 to stage its world congress in London in 2010 for more than 1,000 delegates.

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