London bookings up after Olympic result

Business bookings to London have risen to £60m since July’s Olympic bid, win according to new data from Visit London. Figures from April 2005 to January 2006 show the total value of confirmed bookings to be worth £76m, an 81 per cent rise from the same period the previous year. Three-quarters of this was generated since July 2005, when the verdict was announced. Though Visit London grew its sales staff last year, communication director Ken Kelling feels that the Olympic win is also responsible for the interest in London. “If London has the confidence of the IOC, it should have the confidence of meeting planners, and event and conference organisers,” he said. He concedes that last year’s terrorist attacks may have set back the booking process timeframe, but stressed that the business tourism sector was not as reactive as leisure. “The delay came in booking time while people assessed their options.” Although the Olympics’ infrastructure won’t be complete for six years, Kelling believes Visit London has a “once in a lifetime” sales pitch. “This is an opportunity to change perceptions,” he said.

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