London Mayor Boris Johnson has published an action plan outlining ways the capital's tourism industry can maximise opportunities and boost the economy during the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
The London Tourism Action Plan 2009-13, produced by the London Development Agency (LDA), aims to strengthen the capital's position as the world's most popular destination for visitors.
Sally Chatterjee, interim chief executive of Visit London, said: "London is the world's most visited city and it is important that we maintain this position in the run up to and after the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
"The LDA's Tourism Action Plan is an important part of the successful promotion of London and will continue to add value to the tourism industry across the capital."
More than 100 industry experts were consulted by the LDA to ensure the Plan reflects and complements the ongoing work of the capital's tourism industry.
The £2m ‘Only in London' international marketing campaign to boost the number of overseas visitors has begun to pay dividends. An initial investment of £600,000 between December and March from the LDA and four central London boroughs generated an economic benefit of £11.4m.
The Plan aims to support delivery of a 10-year vision for tourism from 2006, which outlined how London was to achieve number one status with targeted, innovative, competitive and dynamic marketing.
The Plan's key priorities until 2013 are to:
• Support jobs in the industry by increasing trade through campaigns like ‘Only in London'; through opening up hospitality opportunities to local job seekers through the London Employer Accord's partnership with the hospitality sector, and improving customer service standards using the Games as an inspiration.
• Deliver and promote a world-class sense of ‘welcome' by developing plans to recruit and train up to 12,000 Host City Volunteers to welcome visitors at airports, mainline train and tube stations, as well as at key attractions during the 2012 Games.
• Capitalise on the 2012 Games to ensure London maintains its position as a leading destination for international leisure and business tourism. Initiatives include developing an Olympic Park Events Plan and publishing a new guidebook for disabled visitors.
• Exploit the spotlight of the Games to grow London's reputation as a premier global sporting, cultural and business events city by supporting bids to bring major events to London like the 2015 Rugby World Cup and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Tourism is a key driver of London's economy with nearly 15 million overseas visitors and over 11 million domestic visitors in 2008. The industry helps support 253,000 jobs and resulted in £22b of visitor expenditure in the city.
By Janie Stamford
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