Industry waits for money to back up Olympic strategy

20 September 2007 by
Industry waits for money to back up Olympic strategy

Industry leaders have welcomed the publication of the official tourism strategy for the 2012 Olympics but have urged the Government to put its money where its mouth is and reveal how much it is going to invest in preparation for the games.

The Winning: A Tourism Strategy for 2012 and Beyond report, released this week, outlines the strategy that is designed to ensure that UK tourism gains an extra £2.1b when London hosts the games.

It calls on the hospitality industry to improve customer service skills drive up quality in accommodation by increasing the number of places (to 85%) that are accredited under the national star-grading scheme promote the UK as a key location for international business visits and conferences and improve sustainability.

Travelodge chief executive Grant Hearn said: "The report looks nice, but what's the price tag? The true test of the Government's Olympic tourism ambition is not the size of the blueprint but how much it is willing to invest to change Britain's overseas brand - and it has failed that test today.

"Sydney and Barcelona proved that you need to invest to get the maximum tourism return," he added.

Kurt Janson, policy director at the Tourism Alliance, said the report focused on the right areas, but added: "The one important factor not covered by the strategy is, of course, the resources required to achieve the predicted £2.1b increase in revenue.

"We keenly await the announcement of the Comprehensive Spending Review in October as this will determine the likelihood of the strategy succeeding and maximising the benefits of staging the games."

Bob Cotton, chief executive of the British Hospitality Association, welcomed the commitment to improving transport infrastructure, but warned that the UK would never become the leading country in the world for holding business events and conferences without a major new convention centre.

David McHattie, chief operating officer of Sector Skills Council People 1st, said the report highlighted the need for public and private sectors to work together.

"Together we will ensure that the Olympics will provide the catalyst needed to change the structure of qualifications and funding," he said.

London Olympics 2012 >>
Government sets out tourism strategy for London 2012 Olympics >>

Tourism benefits of hosting Olympics underestimated >>

The full Government report: "Winning: A Tourism Strategy for 2012 and Beyond" >>

By Daniel Thomas

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