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Tourism industry given opportunity to shape London’s 2012 success


London’s tourism industry is being given the chance to have its say on plans to tackle the economic downturn and capitalise on the opportunities in the run up to the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The London Development Agency (LDA) has launched a consultation on the London Tourism Action Plan 2009-13 which covers everything from international promotion of London as a world city to improving visitor information, accommodation and workforce development.

Despite the economic downturn, London has advantages over rival destinations with the exchange rate creating opportunities from European and American markets, along with the global focus from the 2012 Games. The action plan aims to provide a coordinated direction to capture these opportunities and provide an Olympic legacy.

The plan, which capitalises on 2012 Games opportunities, includes:

* Use the 2012 Games to capture emerging markets of India, China and Brazil
* Develop a Host City Welcome in the lead up and during 2012 including scoping the need for volunteer welcome and visitor information
* Support the development of world class customer service for 2012
* Roll out the London Ambassadors programme on the transport network and in public spaces in the capital.
* Help increase and promote good quality accomodation
* Develop a business tourism 2012 legacy
* Deliver domestic and overseas marketing to help combat the downturn in line with the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Action Plan
* Support the Green London for Tourism programme
* Launch the London Accommodation Charter for convention bookings
* Work with service industry to deliver pre-employment training for unemployed.

Latest figures show that in 2007 London attracted more than 15 m overseas visits – more than New York and Paris combined, and 10m domestic visitors. These visits supported 253,000 jobs and brought Ł15bn direct visitor spend.

Audrey Slade, LDA director of Business, Jobs and International, said:

“London is in a formidable position and the next four year period represents an unprecedented opportunity to jump ahead further as a global visitor destination. The downturn has created higher demand from American and European visitors, while the 2012 Games will boost London’s profile across the world. We have to ensure we are in the best position to harness these opportunities through the action plan so that the economic benefits are felt for years to come.”

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said:

"Tourism is crucial to the capital’s economy and many challenges and opportunities lie ahead for London’s tourism industry. That’s why it is a key focus for action in my economic recovery plan and we are already investing heavily to promote London as widely as possible and to improve the experience for our visitors.

“As the focus of the world turns towards our great capital in the run up to 2012, we must maximise every opportunity to attract visitors, both in the run up to and beyond the London Games. We will succeed by working together and that collaboration starts today, as we ask London’s tourist industry to help plan the way forward to ensure a tourism bonanza for the capital over the next four years.”

At the same time as planning for the future, London is delivering now on key projects that are attracting visitors to the capital and improving their experience in the city.

This month will see: the launch of the ‘Only in London’ campaign; two major free events in central London to celebrate St George’s Day and Shakespeare’s birthday; recognition of Transport for London’s Travel Centres as a key part of the city’s visitor information network; and, the expansion of the ‘Infobike’ network along the South Bank.

Sally Chatterjee, Interim CEO Visit London said:

“The 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games represent one of the greatest opportunities to raise the profile of London as a world class, sustainable city on a global stage. Our mission in the run up to the Games is to showcase London as the best city in which to visit, conduct business and study. Our Only in London campaign is aimed at driving visitors to experience the uniqueness of London and maintain its status as one of the most visited international cities in the world.”

The draft Action Plan was informed by the findings from visitor research and initial discussions with key tourism industry figures. These discussions highlighted the support for marketing campaigns to help overcome the challenges faced by London’s business community in the current economic downturn alongside initiatives to raise the city’s visitor welcome in the run up to 2012.

The draft London Tourism Action Plan will be out for consultation from today to the 19 May 2009 and can be found at:

This is the second Action Plan that supports the realisation of the London Tourism Vision 2006 - 2016 to be recognised as the leading global city for tourism.

Notes to Editors

* The London Development Agency aims to improve the quality of life for all Londoners - working to create jobs, develop skills and promote economic growth.
* Tourism activity being launched in April includes:
o The UK launch of Visit London’s “Only in London” spring campaign which will then roll out to Europe and North American markets.
o The Mayor of London presents two free events in central London to celebrate St George’s Day 2009 and Shakespeare’s birthday.
o Transport for London’s Travel Centres and Holborn Information Kiosk will become part of London’s official Visitor Information Network
o The expanded Infobike network along the South Bank will be launched
o The Mayor will launch the River Passenger Services Concordat which sets out plans to improve river services on the Thames, such as the extension of Tower Millennium Pier
o The LDA will host a seminar on planning for visitor accommodation in London
o The GLA is will commission consumer research in to the needs of our disabled visitors.


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