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Mayor drives London into world’s top-10 of international convention destinations

New figures published today show that London has propelled up the rankings to become one of the world’s most popular destinations for international conventions and conferences.

Thanks to a concerted effort by the Mayor of London Boris Johnson and his international promotional organisation London & Partners, over the last four years London has jumped from 19th to 7th in the league table of top convention destinations, in rankings published by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA).

Deeming London’s performance in this important sector of the economy unacceptable, saying ‘London doesn’t do 19th, the Mayor ordered a review of business tourism in 2009 which was chaired by Bob Cotton, then chief executive of the British Hospitality Association. Since then the Mayor has played a key role in attracting major conventions to the city, including Sport Accord which attracted more than 1,500 top business names from the world of international sport.

The London & Partners team has also worked closely with the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre and the International Conference Centre at ExCeL to promote London as a top destination, offering first class facilities for business visitors to the capital. As a consequence, in 2011 the capital played host to 115 conferences and conventions, which moved the city from 14th to 7th place in the latest ICCA rankings.

The Mayor of London, Boris 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."

Gordon Innes, CEO at London & Partners, the official convention bureau for London, said:  “We are absolutely delighted with London’s ground-breaking result in the ICCA city rankings. London now has a very strong product and boasts Europe’s largest convention centre.  The capital also has a unique ability to deliver higher returns on investment and objectives for meeting planners.  

When London & Partners was created, our goal was to make London a top 10 convention city by 2015, so hitting the number 7 spot so early is a fantastic achievement and a testament to our convention bureau team.  As the world turns its attention to the capital this summer, London & Partners will implement the next phase of our ambitious, city-wide strategy to move London into the top 5.”

Kevin Murphy, CEO at ExCeL London and Board Member at London & Partners, said: “We are all delighted to see London getting back to where it should be. The hard work from the teams here, in conjunction with the teams at London & Partners and London’s new World Class ICC has firmly put London back on the global destinations map.”

Sue Etherington, Commercial Director at The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre (QEIICC) said: “This is great news for London - for the city in general and for the International association market based here too. 2012 is already proving to be a prosperous year for The QEIICC, with five recent international and national association event wins bringing a total of over 11,000 delegates to the Centre. We have received a record number of International meeting requests in the years 2013 – 18, and we are confident that these will translate into a great pipeline of business in future years. Our congratulations go to the London & Partners team for being instrumental in this wonderful achievement."

The ICCA report showed London climbed into the top 10 leaping ahead of European rivals Amsterdam, Istanbul and Lisbon, and moving in front of worldwide counterparts including Sydney, Beijing, Buenos Aires and Taipei.

London & Partners has a dedicated team in place to assist associations bringing their events to London and in the last year has helped a number of key associations to come to London including the European Society for Radiotherapy & Oncology, the European League Against Rheumatism, the International Neuromodulation Society Congress and the European Haematology Association.

Notes to Editors

The ICCA rankings report can be accessed here: www.iccaworld.com/dcps/doc.cfm?docid=1364

With the world’s spotlight on London this year as we approach the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, this affirmation of London as a global leader in business emphasises that there has never been a better time to bring events business to the capital. The halo effect from staging the greatest show on the planet is already leaving a long-lasting legacy for London with unrivalled venues and hotels appearing all over the capital as well as mass regeneration and upgrades to the city’s infrastructure that will benefit business and event organisers for years to come.

As well as advice and guidance there is a whole range of bespoke association’s tools on offer from London & Partners’ Associations team including: a free London Associations Directory, marketing toolkit and a bi-annual association e-newsletter. Everything can be found at: londonandpartners.com/associations

The annual ICCA, “International Association Meetings Market“, statistics present an in-depth evaluation of trends in the international meetings industry. The association conventions reviewed by the ICCA must have at least 50 attendees, be regular events and take place alternately in at least three different countries. Founded in 1963, the International Congress & Convention Association ICCA is based in Amsterdam and has been collecting data on association events world-wide since 1972.

About London & Partners:

London & Partners is the official promotional organisation for London attracting and delivering value to businesses, students and visitors. London & Partners is a not-for-profit public private partnership, funded by the Mayor of London and our network of commercial partners. Our remit is to drive leisure and business visitors as well as bidding to secure major events in London, we can unlock the city for overseas businesses who want to set up or expand in London and we promote the capital’s world class universities to international students. For more information, please visit www.londonandpartners.com/convention-bureau

About ExCeL London:

ExCeL London is the UK's premier events, exhibitions and conference venue, located in London on a 100-acre site alongside Royal Victoria Dock in London's Docklands, between Canary Wharf and London City Airport. For more information, please visit www.excel-london.co.uk

About The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre

The Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre (QEIICC) is a premier purpose-built venue in a prestigious location in the heart of London. The QEIICC is an executive agency of Communities and Local Government (CLG) and is uniquely situated against the stunning backdrop of Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, The Houses of Parliament and The London Eye. For more information, please visit www.qeiicc.co.uk

Contact

Greater London Authority

GLA press office on +44 (0)20 7983 4000

www.london.gov.uk

London & Partners

Chloe Couchman, Business & Major Events, London & Partners  on +44 (0)20 7234 5727

www.londonandpartners.com