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Boris hails London's improving conference sector

by LLB Editor
14th May 12 3:46 pm

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has hailed the capital’s climb up the international rankings for conference and convention destinations.

London has moved up to seventh place in the world for hosting professional gatherings, four years after Johnson said it was not good enough for the capital to be ranked 19th.

Johnson ordered an investigation into the state of business tourism in London and it appears to have worked, with the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) counting 115 conferences in the capital last year.

Johnson said: “In less than four years London has fought its way back into the premier league of a crucial sector which helps to support and create thousands of jobs for the capital’s economy.

“I said that 19th position in the world rankings was unacceptable and I am delighted we have raised our game.

“Now we must build on this success and continue to attract leading organisations from across the globe by promoting London as the number one convention destination.

“With the world’s spotlight upon us we have a golden opportunity to showcase why London, with its world class venues and facilities, is the best place to do business.”

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London’s capacity to hold larger events has been boosted by the expansion of the ExCel conference centre, the ICCA said. The rise of Tech City has helped the number of IT events increase, while the life sciences and medical sector has been aided by the development of research facilities in the King’s Cross area.

Heathrow’s Terminal 5 also received praise for catering for large numbers of travellers in business parties.

More sports conferences could be attracted to the capital on the back of the Olympic Games, it was also suggested. The event has also been credited with helping to improve hotels and transport links in London.

London Chamber of Commerce and Industry director of policy and public affairs Dr Helen Hill said: “It is great news that London has moved so far up the list of conference destinations and is a reflection of the hard work being done to promote all that we have to offer.

“Business tourists bring a lot to cities and the contribution they will be making to London’s economy is important, especially at this time.

“2012 is really putting the focus on London and those visiting should see why it is a brilliant place to come whether for business or pleasure.”

Commenting on the report, BAA said: “We are delighted to be recognised in the ICCA report. Terminal 5 was recently named the World’s Best Airport Terminal by passengers across the globe and is a great showcase for our vision of Heathrow’s future and the level of passenger experience we are working to deliver right across the airport.

 “For international business passengers we have invested in ensuring their journey is as smooth and convenient as possible from start to finish. The installation of the ground-breaking ‘Pod’ transport system whisks passengers from business parking straight to Terminal 5, whilst the Heathrow Express lets them travel between the airport and central London in just 15 minutes, every 15 minutes.”

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