By USDR London Bureau.
New figures published recently by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) shows that London has continued its ascent of world rankings as a major centre for business tourism.
Last year, in addition to hosting the Olympics and Paralympic Games, London hosted a record number of global business events which has now elevated the city’s status to sixth place globally. The city has also recently secured some of the most prestigious medical congresses and annual general meetings. Events of this scale typically bring up to £80 million in economic benefit to the host city and support the business events industry which is worth £40 billion to the UK overall economy.
The ICCA report showed London ahead of competitors such as New York, Beijing, Hong Kong, Chicago and Sydney whilst overtaking some of its closer European rivals such as Rome, Athens, Munich, Brussels and Edinburgh. The ICCA rankings are collated and published annually.
The continued rise for London has taken place over the last five years which in 2008 saw London at 19th position. The Mayor of London then tasked his promotional organisation London & Partners and the official convention bureau to create a dedicated team to target, bid for and win major business events for London.
As a result, over the last 12 months London has announced a series of major congress wins. This includes the leading medical associations, EASL, which will host its 2014 conference at ExCeL London. The five day event is expected to bring some 10,000 medical professionals to the capital and will generate over £25 million of economic benefit to the capital. Last October, London also announced the biggest ever congresses win for The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) in 2015. The ESC Congress is the largest cardiology meeting in the world and will see around 35,000 medical professionals descend on the capital for the five day event from 29 August – 2 September 2015.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, commented: ‘London’s popularity as a host for major business events continues to rise thanks to a concerted effort to capture more of the fiercely competitive business tourism market. We have the expertise, the transport system, venues and accommodation to ensure these events will receive a world class experience. The city’s extraordinary success in hosting last year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games will only build on this success.’
Over the last five years the capital has improved London’s overall offering as a business destination. Measures include:
2009 – London & Partners launch the first ever London – London Accommodation Charter which gives major congresses the opportunity to mass book hotel rooms.
2010 – The extension of ExCeL London becomes London’s first ICC which means it’s UK’s largest fully-flexible auditorium for up to 5,000 delegates. It also offers London’s largest banqueting hall, the ICC Capital Hall, for up to 3,000 guests
2011 – A dedicated toolkit for Associations is produced by London & Partners which includes films, support quotes, account management and dedicated directory and website.
2012 – London sees investment of over £11 billion pounds worth of investment – The “halo” effect of the Games sees new hotels spring up, infrastructure and regeneration across London, the city has never looked better, or offered such a variety of experiences to visitors and planners alike.
2013 – GLA, London & Partners start to implement plans for using Team London Ambassadors working at a number of majorLondon events and transport hubs. London & Partners continue to work with the Mayor on his Team London Ambassadors programme to select major sporting and business tourism congresses which will be suitable for volunteers to get involved in.
Gordon Innes, CEO at London & Partners, the official convention bureau for London, adds:
“Today’s news is the result of the hard work of London’s venues, hotels and wider events industry, and of the entire team at London & Partners CVB, who work tirelessly to attract, bid for and deliver hundreds of events across the capital each year.London’s meetings and events proposition is improving, year on year, and London & Partners is absolutely focused on leveraging last year’s Olympic showcase to grow the events and meetings industry in the coming months. We have set our sights on entering the top five next year.”
David Pegler, CEO, ExCeL London: “Last year was a phenomenal year for London where we showcased to the world that the city can successfully deliver the world’s greatest event – The Olympic & Paralympic Games. Moving up to 6th place is a great achievement and is testament to the attraction of London as a leading events destination and we are proud to have played a crucial role in helping our city to deliver and continue to move up the rankings.”
Sue Etherington, Commercial Director at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre (QEIICC) said: “It is great to see that London continues to benefit from increased activity and is building further recognition as a major convention and conference destination. It is testament to the hard work of both the London and Partners Association team and all the venues, such as ourselves, in capitalising on the effect of staging the Olympics in London and showcasing the fabulous city that London is. This is great news and we look forward to working closely with London and Partners to get to the Number 5 spot next year!”
As a result of London’s growing international prestige, it has become a prominent location for businesses around the world to hold conferences and events. For conference venues in London visit here.