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NEWSFebruary 2012 . . 15 £1bn Games boost for UKSix out of the eight permanent Olympic venues have had their futures secured with the appointment of long-term operators.The Olympic Park Legacy Company (OPLC) has endorsed operator contracts for the Aquatics Centre, Multi-Use Arena and Acrcelor Mittal Orbit, worth a combined £350m.The company says "employment, training and sporting opportunities for Londoners are at the heart of the contracts, along with ensuring the venues are both affordable and accessible, and fi t into the wider offer of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park". Greenwich Leisure Limited (GLL) has signed on to operate the Aquatics Centre and the Multi-Use Arena, and Balfour Beatty WorkPlace will run the ArcelorMittal Orbit and manage maintenance of the Park. The contracts include 254 full-time jobs with 75 per cent going to local people in the host boroughs; 86 apprenticeship places every year. "The combination of Balfour Beatty WorkPlace's commitment to jobs and apprenticeships and GLL's innovative proposals for sports programming will create a host of economic and sporting opportunities," said Baroness Margaret Ford of the OPLC. GLL will operate the Aquatics Centre and Multi-use Arena for 10 years starting in 2013. Ford says the contract ensures the Aquatics Centre will not require any additional public subsidy and that further revenue will be generated from naming rights for both venues. The company hopes to have secured new operators for all the venues before the Games start. Achieving that goal would be a fi rst for any Olympic cityThe news was announced at a most unusual meeting, a meeting of the Cabinet at the Olympic Park handball arena to mark 200 days to go to the opening of the London 2012 Games.The Aquatics Centre is not only expected to attract 800,000 swimmers a year, but managers hope to adapt it by using platforms over the water to turn it into a venue for corporate events and weddings.Prime Minister David Cameron said: "This summer's Olympics will put the eyes of the world on Britain as we host not just an unparalleled sporting spectacle, but also a chance for companies from across the globe to interact and do business."The PM also said a large business conference, to be held on the eve of the London Olympics 2012, would bring a £1bn boost to the economy. Speaking at the special Cabinet meeting, the Prime Minister said 200 company chiefs and executives from Google to Goldman Sachs would convene at Lancaster House on the eve of the sporting event for their special business conference. Leading executives from GlaxoSmithKline have already signed up to speak.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS16 . . February 2012Malaga, Costa del Sol and Gijon CVBs mergeSPAIN - The convention bureaus of Malaga, Costa del Sol and Gijon have joined forces to set up a marketing alliance to promote the destinations.The alliance is aimed at attracting events at a national level and is said to be the fi rst marketing alliance between any Spanish destinations.Philadelphia CVB showcases tax-free benefi tsUSA - Philadelphia Convention Bureau claims to have created the only destination website in the US to offer 'click and purchase' travel packages as well as social media shopping ambassadors, interactive shopping maps, and monthly 'hot deals'. The new website also has a '' version to cater for 30 per cent of they city's delegates from outside of the US. Three Shopping Ambassadors (originally from the UK, France and Brazil) have been charged with blogging, tweeting and creating and posting videos.AEG Ogden to manage OCECOMAN - AEG Ogden has been appointed to operate the new Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) in Muscat.The centre will feature a 3,200-seat auditorium and 22,000sqm of column-free event space.The OCEC will open its exhibition halls in 2014, supplemented by the banqueting halls and meetings rooms in 2015.AACB head joins Sarawak CVB as CEOAUSTRALIA - After 11 years at the helm of the Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) Mike Cannon is to join the Sarawak Convention Bureau as CEO. The AACB Executive Director will replace Jill Henry, who had been the CEO for nearly six years and was previously the GM of the Perth Convention Bureau in Australia. Cannon will depart the AACB in March 2012.Ellingson appointed CEO at Durban ICCSOUTH AFRICA - Durban International Convention Centre has appointed Julie-May Ellingson as CEO.In April, she took over as Acting CEO when, after four years at the helm, Miller Matola took the decision to leave the centre for the International Marketing Council as CEO.IAPCO gains fi rst Indian PCOCHINA - An Indian Professional Congress Organiser (PCO) has become the latest member to join the International Association of PCOs (IAPCO), bringing the organisation's membership to 41 countries.And with the addition of new members, KW Conferences based in Gurgaon, India, and Convention Linkage based in Chiyoda-ku, Japan, IAPCO now boasts 116 members.EUROPEMIDDLE EASTAUSTRALASIAASIAAMERICASTap into's sister website, for the latest international meetings industry news. AFRICA