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uch like the surge in global interest sparked by this year's Royal Wedding, Britain can expect a hive of activity to surround the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics in 2012. Research by American Express Business Insights earlier this year found the UK is leading the way in terms of spending growth in Europe, with a 10% increase on 2010. This comes as welcome news in an environment where consumer confidence remains low and economic growth fragile. Growth in the MICE and corporate sectors will be crucial to maximising the scope of future revenue."The outlook for the Westminster area in 2012 is even better with direct travel links to the Olympic Park from Westminster tube station, the Hyde Park Festival Live site and the blue-ribbon beach volleyball events taking place in Horse Guard's Parade," says Wendy Greenhalgh, 12 . www.conference-news.co.uk . September 2011MThe future's brightDirector of Sales and Marketing at One Great George Street, who has to date this year enjoyed £54,000 of confi rmed and contracted business via The Westminster Collection referrals - a fi gure she is pleased to label an "unparalleled return" when equating it to One Great George Street's annual The Westminster Collection membership fee."As the home of the London Media Centre, One Great George Street is BRAND WESTMINSTERTea at RICS on Parliament Square.

www.conference-news.co.uk . September 2011 . 13for Westminsterlooking forward to welcoming many of the 20,000 international and UK media professionals to Westminster for the duration of the London 2012 Olympics."The Westminster Collection has announced its commitment to campaigning for better recognition and support for business tourism versus leisure tourism and it continues to map, research and evaluate the scope and value of Westminster's business tourism offer, with the support of Westminster City Council and London & Partners.Through powerful, persistent marketing The Westminster Collection grew its membership base by 100% in just 12 months, despite the challenges posed by the choked economy. It has already surpassed the initial vision statement it created four years ago, which was to be recognised as the leading business tourism marketing collective for venues and events in Westminster.To continue the momentum, the coming 12 months will see The Westminster Collection further increase its presence in Westminster with greater representation, affi liation and funding, with the intention of spreading the word across the business community in London, the UK and overseas."This is not a superfi cial marketing collective trying to make a quick buck," says Tom Walsh, Director of Sales - MICE, St Ermin's Hotel. "The numerous networking events, discussions and lobbying, which René does on our behalf, are vital to increasing business tourism in the area - something which we rely on heavily."In July, The Westminster Collection was honoured to receive the patronage of Andy Wilson, Principal of Westminster Kingsway College, the UK's leading catering and hospitality college, from which such alumni as Jamie Oliver and Harriott Ainsley have come. In the coming months, further prominent patrons are being sought to strengthen its profi le and links to a wider business and cultural community."As one of the earliest members of the collective, we have been delighted to see the collection go from strength to strength over the last few years. Membership is an important part of our marketing mix," says Robin Parker, General Manager of Church House Conference Centre.Councillor Colin Barrow CBE, Leader of Westminster City Council, shares similar positivity about Westminster as a bustling business and leisure destination going forward. In a June letter to The Westminster Collection's Chief Executive, René Dee, he praised the marketing collective for effectively selling 'brand Westminster', despite the tendency for business tourism to be "often overlooked". "The revenues and jobs it generates are vital to the continuing economic success of London," Barrow said. "Business tourists - whether from Birmingham or Beijing - are likely to spend their money in Westminster's restaurants, bars and theatres which employ our residents and contribute to the overall image of the city. The Government's localism agenda will fi nally give local authorities an incentive to promote economic growth and one are we will focus on will be how we attract more visitors to Westminster for business and pleasure." "The outlook for the Westminster area in 2012 is even better with direct travel links to the Olympic Park from Westminster tube station, the Hyde Park Festival Live site and the blue-ribbon beach volleyball events taking place in Horse Guard's Parade." BRAND WESTMINSTER