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50 . . February 2012Sarah O'Donnell talks to London & Partners' (L&P) Director of Business Tourism and Major Events, Tracy Halliwell, on London's busiest year.What have been the key challenges L&P have faced over the past year? For London, one of the main challenges with planning for any major event is the impact on tourism in the run-up to the Games due to displacement, which is a feature that affects every host city of a large event where potential visitors choose to stay away. transport. Upgrades are improving the transport network and building work is not affecting the visitor experience.This year is such a big year for London. As well as the Games we have huge one-off events taking place such as the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, World Pride coming to London and a plethora of cultural events from the Cultural Olympiad; that's why it's important to look at the whole year and not just focus on the Games period. It's not a sprint, it's an exciting marathon.London will become their choice time and time again. One such DMC is Via Norway which considers London its "number one international destination for business meetings, events and incentives". London continues to be a top choice for incentive business with a strengthening market from Scandinavia including Moe and Blosmgaard in Denmark, Resmia in Sweden and Quest Travel in Norway. Bringing in new business from other parts of Europe included motivational trips from ESABE and BBVA Bank in Spain and EDF Energy in France.Notable recent events for London include the Eular Congress in May 2011 at ICC London Excel; with over 16,000 delegates in attendance this is the largest medical conference the capital has hosted to date, generating £18m of economic benefi t. Others during 2011 include the World Skills Competition with 20,000 delegates and worth over £27m, Cisco Systems Networkers Conference that we attracted from its previous destination of Barcelona, with 5,000 delegates yielding over £10m, the European Haematology Association Congress, with 4,000 delegates bringing in over £7m. Events planned for 2012 include congresses for the 8,000 delegate European Society of Hypertension at ICC London Excel as well as the 2,000 delegate European Cancer Organisation at the Barbican. Looking ahead to the Olympic and Paralympic Games this summer we have already secured NOC Houses for Germany, Italy, Jamaica and Nigeria and are helping NOCs, brands and rights holders to activate during the Games.How is business bearing up in the current economic climate?The strong recovery in business travel to London seen in 2010 was sustained throughout the fi rst six months of 2011, with arrivals up by 10.2 per cent on the same six month period in 2010. London received 1.48m business arrivals in the fi rst half of 2011. Their expenditure amounted to £1.23bn, a 20 per cent uplift on 2010. The main contribution to this was the 18 per cent increase in the number of nights spent by visitors. In brief, there were larger numbers of corporate travellers. They're staying longer and therefore spending more.Where are you seeing the greatest competition?London still sees competition from cities which are able to offer subvention - whether that's through free venues or cash benefi ts. London is unable to do that but what it does offer is a cultural hub, which is easy to travel to and inspirational once you arrive. As a CVB we have to look at where London can stand out, what makes it different to other cities - things like our free museums, our outstanding cuisine, major events and unique moments - all make London still the leading destination for business. However, we believe we are the fi rst city to identify this issue and have responded by launching such elements as the London Visitor Charter to ensure fair pricing for visitors across attractions, restaurants and more and What have been some of L&P's great achievements in terms of business events to date?At L&P, we work both domestically and internationally and across industry to attract events for London from a wide spectrum: from medical associations to national summits, corporate meetings to motivational and incentive trips. While the larger congresses bring in large but mostly annual events for London, we also work closely with DMCs to persuade them that London should be their choice for a host of events rather than any other destination. We develop and nurture these relationships by providing a superior convention bureau service so that LONDONLondon & Partners' take

Think of a number, any number.Was it 10? ok, we cheated a little but, for a limited time only, for every 10 day delegate places you book at W12 Conferences you'll receive an extra day delegate place free! Yes, thats right, buy 10 get 1 free!For an informal chat or to pop in and see us give our events team a call on 020 3313 1606 or email them at Conferences | 150 Du Cane Road, London W12 0HS |